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Jesus intimates his Messianic destiny to his chosen twelve as they stride forth to Jerusalem. His resolve and physical strength are manifested in his marching ahead of the disciples who had a strong sense that the journey was somehow ominous and that Jerusalem would not be friendly toward their Master. The Lord’s gait and perhaps stern face caused them to quiver.
Taking the twelve aside (there may have been others accompanying them) Jesus disclosed the purpose of his approach to the Jewish capital as forecast by the prophets. His going up to Jerusalem was a very determined and deliberate walk of obedience. He knew that he faced a grim prospect and he chose to confide in his closest friends.
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of man will be accomplished. For he will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day he will rise again” (vv 31 - 33).
The most significant events in Earth’s history are related so succinctly. The mood of the Savior must have been one of deep foreboding, and yet of supreme confidence in the Father’s decreed outcome. Jesus would be a sacrificial victim who would be raised again. Jesus did not elaborate upon the meaning of his death and resurrection at this time. The coming straight-forward facts through which human salvation is wrought would be sufficient at the moment for the disciples to absorb. Clues to his atoning work were to be found in the Hebrew scrolls but the disciples were not at this stage of spiritual immaturity adept at picking them up. The events and their essence were not intelligible to them in a twofold sense.
“And they understood none of these things, and this saying was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said” (v34). Christ’s process of self-disclosure its gradual and highly personal. It emerges from his divine sovereignty as the Word. “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Matthew 11: 25-27).
The chosen of Jesus are first taken aside for reliable knowledge of the historical facts. These were declared to the twelve. But facts alone are not sufficient for saving faith. The meaning of them was hidden from the disciples. Human intelligence cannot discern salvation meaning in bare facts. We are blind and it is the divine prerogative to explain the facts. This Jesus does by his Spirit in his own good time. He takes us aside individually and personally to illuminate both the information concerning him, and our eyes to perceive him with the eye of faith, a gift of grace. Aptly, the incident of the blind beggar receiving his sight (vv35-42) is skillfully appended to Jesus’ prediction delivered on the road. He speaks this command to our soul. “Receive your sight: your faith has healed (saved) you (v42).