Jesus says a lot of weird things, and he also says a lot of things in weird ways. Here, he’s pretty clear. He’s so clear that to me he seems like a quarterback in the huddle giving his team the plan: “Here’s what we’re gonna do… we’re gonna go up to Jerusalem, and everything’s gonna happen…”. Yet, the disciples don’t get any of it. Usually I’m pretty understanding of the disciples not getting it (heck, I don’t get it, and I know the end of the story), but here it seems that they should. Except for this: “In fact, what he said was hidden from them” (18:34). It appears that it is not their own stupidity or stubbornness that is why they’re not getting it, but that something is hiding them from it.
Why? I don’t know. My best guess is that if they knew, they’d bail on him right there. As soon as they enter Jerusalem, this is gonna get hard. A professor of mine once described the Gospel of Luke as like Jesus stretch a rubber band as far from Jerusalem as it can go and then letting it snap back (an image I referenced in an earlier post). We are currently on that snapping back trajectory, and when that rubber snaps back all the way there will be quite a collision.
This stuff is about to get really hard. Scary hard. Life and death hard. Life changing hard. And even world changing hard. Are you ready?