32 They were on their way up to Jerusalem. Jesus was leading the way. The disciples were amazed. Those who followed were afraid. Again Jesus took the 12 disciples to one side. He told them what was going to happen to him. 33 “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said. “The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will sentence him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Gentiles. 34 They will make fun of him and spit on him. They will whip him and kill him. Three days later he will rise from the dead!”
The drama of Mark’s Gospel builds as Jesus sternly reminds his inner circle of disciples about how he believes their trip to Jerusalem is going to turn out. We (the audience reading Mark) know exactly what Jesus is talking about, the Twelve can only imagine. Like being a batsman in a cricket match where you are warned that the next ball will be spinner and that it will definitely get you out. Like having the mechanic warn you that your car’s engine is most definitely going to ‘blow up’ sometime very soon. Like being told that your favourite person on that TV show is most definitely going to be kicked off because your friend knows all the spoilers from looking them up the internet.
These examples are somewhat trivial by comparison, but in all cases you know the feeling like there is nothing you can do to change the outcome. You don’t know the specifics, but you do know the end result. Your future experience is set, but the details are unclear. Perhaps there are (or have been) serious circumstances in your life that leave you powerless. You feel trapped with a future outcome and nothing to be done but nervously await it’s unfolding.
I feel that today’s encouragement is found in knowing that Jesus will be with you every step of the way. Whether big or small, no ‘Jerusalem’ we might face will overcome us when we know Jesus is with us. The tornado that the disciples walked into beginning when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the tornado that Jesus is warning his disciples about in this passage, defined their lives. Because it resulted in the Cross and the resurrection, that tornado defines our lives as well.
Lord, thank you for the courage to face any circumstance. Thank you for your holy and peaceful presence that rests in my heart and on my life. Thank you for the ultimate victory of Jesus and the daily hopefulness that this victory catalyses in the face of any challenge.
Written by Sam Stewart