Mark Chapter 10 opens with Jesus addressing the issue of Divorce, the importance of children in the Kingdom of God, and the story of the Rich Young Ruler, which Pastor Casey did an incredible Dwell Study on when he covered Matthew chapter 19. If you missed that one, I encourage you to go back and give it a read or a listen! This chapter then closes with James and John coming to Jesus with their mama to make a pretty bold request and Jesus healing a blind man named Bartimaeus.
But today, I want to take the next few moments to zero in on three short verses that can easily get overlooked amidst the deep and heavy conversations that take place both before and after. Let’s read verses 32 - 34 together:
“They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again He took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to Him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” He said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles, who will mock Him and spit on Him, flog Him and kill Him. Three days later He will rise.”
There are so many amazing truths we could pull out of these three verses but for times sake I want to share with you three things we can learn from Jesus as the days inch closer and closer to His death on the cross.
Jesus was leading the way.
In verse 32 we see Jesus leading the way both physically and spiritually. That very first line of the verse says “They were now on their way up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them.” Like a giant game of “follow the leader” Jesus is quite literally LEADING the way to Jerusalem.
Can we take a moment to take notice of the incredible level of confidence Jesus had to have had in His calling and purpose to be able to lead in such a bold and upfront way when He knew the road He was walking was leading straight to a painful death on the cross?
For any of you out there who have kids or have spent a good amount of time around kids, you have likely seen first hand what it looks like when a kid doesn’t want to go somewhere or do something. If they aren’t throwing themselves on the floor, flopping around like a fish out of water and crying and complaining then they are almost definitely moping along, walking as slowly as humanly possible in an attempt to “obey” and yet delay the inevitable for as long as they are able. And if we are honest then we, as adults, still have those same feelings and would likely act in the same way, were it socially acceptable for us to flop around on the ground until we got our way!
Why, because it is human nature to, as Burger King so eloquently put it, “Have it OUR way!” We are inherently self centered and selfish. It’s only when Jesus comes into our hearts and lives and shakes things up that our hearts and minds begin to make that shift from doing what best for ME to doing what’s best for His people and His kingdom. And Jesus led by example in a big way when He LED the disciples on that road to Jerusalem. Not lagging behind, dreading what was to come. But, instead, walking with a bold confidence down the road to which His Father had called Him.
2. Jesus faced the facts.
I just love the straightforward way in which Jesus speaks to the disciples in verse 33. He says, “Listen…we’re going to go up to Jerusalem where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and teachers of religious law. They will sentence Him to die and hand Him over to the Romans."
There is not a single ounce of “beating around the bush” found in that statement! And there was NO DOUBT what was to come. But why is that important? I venture to say - for lack of better words - it’s because we as a people are pretty slow learners. Especially when it comes to the things the Lord is trying to teach us.
How do I know that - well for starters, verse 32 states “Jesus once more began to describe everything that was about to happen to Him.” Clearly, this is a conversation that they have had before! Not only can you read in the Old Testament the foreshadowing of Christs death in Exodus 12 and the prophecy's found in Isaiah 53 and Deuteronomy 21, just to name a few, but you can also read of Jesus Himself sharing about His coming death in the New Testament, first in Matthew 16, Mark 8, and Luke 9, again in Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9, and then for a third time in Matthew 20, Luke 18, and right here in Mark 10.
Again, clearly this was a conversation Jesus had repeatedly with His disciples. Why? I’m sure there are many reasons that God does what He does that we will never know this side of Heaven but one reason is written plainly in the text. If we look back at verse 32 we see that those following Jesus were afraid - and not for Jesus’ sake but for their own! I have no doubt they had thoughts running through their minds like “If Jesus is about to walk into a situation where He is going to be betrayed and sentenced to die, what will be MY fate if I’m seen with Him?”
So Jesus graciously lays out the plan…again…to help calm their fears and remind them [and us] that...
#3. The “end” is just the “beginning”
In verse 34 Jesus continues by saying “They will mock me, spit on me, flog me, and even kill me...BUT...after three days I will rise again!”
In other words Jesus is saying - Yes, there are difficult times ahead. Yes, pain is going to be felt. Things are going to look and feel like they are spinning out of control but DON’T FORGET! None of this has caught me off guard! I know the pain that is coming but I also want to make sure YOU know that I have a plan! You see, after three days, I will raise from the dead, bringing hope and healing to each of you. Making a way where there seems to be no way. The suffering will only be temporary but the reward will be eternal.
So today, I just want to encourage you with this powerful reminder from these 3 short verses in Mark chapter 10 - No matter what you are facing in life, you don’t have to be afraid because God has boldly gone before you, leading and guiding every step of the way. There is no need to worry or fear because He has always been open and honest with you - that, as He declared in John 16:33 “In this world we will have trouble!” - Nothing catches Him off guard or by surprise. And you can walk out this journey set before you with the same boldness and confidence that Jesus did because, thanks to the cross, what may seem like the end is truly only just the beginning.