They went on from there and passed through Gallilee. And he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, "The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise." But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
I marvel at the experience of the disciples. These chosen men were walking with the very Son of God day by day. Eating, sleeping, healing and working together - doing life. They had access to the infinite knowledge of God Himself yet here they were, confused and bewildered about what they were hearing and they were afraid to ask for clarification. Surely the statement that their friend, healer and Savior would be delivered into death's hands was a bit too much, unbelievable even. It would have been hard to hear that your best friend would soon die a gruesome death. I think those guys were just like us, desperately wanting the truth but too afraid to ask.
Think of all the questions we are too afraid to ask. Sometimes we're afraid to ask our teenagers if they are o.k. We wonder if our spouses still love us. How much do we owe the bank? What are the medical test results? Do we have enough savings to live on when we retire? Posing such questions often cause us to clam up, stare at our feet or change the subject because we either know some of the sad truths already or like Jack Nicholson boldly proclaimed in "A Few Good Men", we know we can't handle the truth. So we go about our days with our heads in the sand, delaying reality just a little bit longer.
I think the disciples were no different and I think Jesus was patient and kind with them. They swiftly changed the subject from Jesus' impending sacrifice to which one among them was greatest of His friends. Sort of like asking your husband what he wants for dinner when he mentions impending layoffs at his job. If we just change the subject or remove the focus the bad thing won't come. Surely a nice steak and potato could alter the future.
Jesus took His time with the disciples. He didn't pile on with hard truths, He allowed them to ponder and process but he always brought them back to reality. He continued to foreshadow the coming sacrifice and made it plain and simple during the Passover meal. The Last Supper detailed the purpose of the Passover and how it aligned with God's plan of salvation for the world. What good news this was even though it was hard to hear! I can't imagine watching Him pour the wine which signifies the pouring out of His very own blood. As much as I am thankful to drink from that cup, I know that I would never want a friend to suffer like that.
The truth, the real truth is always beautiful even when it's hard and hurtful. We can't change, fix, plan or decide when we operate out of blindness. Thankfully God is patient with us and will allow us to muddle through the mire at our own pace like the disciples. Eventually, He will bring things to fruition in His perfect timing whether we feel ready or not.
When we choose to take up the task of walking with Christ, He will ready us for things we are too afraid to face. As someone who desperately runs from confrontation, I have learned that with Jesus, I can ask the hard questions and face the even more difficult answers. I don't rest in my own bravery or confidence, I rest in the fact that He knows all and has a plan already laid out, much like the plan of salvation. God's plans will be carried out no matter our understanding or fear of them.
What questions do you have that you are afraid to pose? If you aren't ready to voice them out loud ask your Father first. Wait and watch patiently for the answers and gird yourself with His love and steadfast faithfulness to bring you through any answer.