Mark 8:31: And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Mark 9:31: 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.”
Mark 10:32-34: 32 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33 saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. 34 And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”
Before Jesus’ week of passion began, He forewarned His disciples three times what was going to happen, and all three times times they missed it. It’s usually that way when working with homosapiens. You can speak clearly, directly, and repeatedly and we cannot get the correct communication through our skulls. Or if we do, others have a different take. You write an email, and now you just made your friend mad because your language (that you thought was very clear) led them to believe or hear something else. You train a group of people how to operate a new machine and a few days later you have a handful of opinions on how it really works.
Jesus knows this about us as homosapiens. He created us with limited capabilities and very different personalities. It was no mistake that the disciples couldn’t get it and Jesus knew that the repetition was going bring certain things to memory once everything went down. Jesus often repeats things in our lives and sets things up so that we keep remembering important things that we think we should never forget…. like communion.
The command to partake in communion when we gather together as believers is God’s way of graciously reminding us and wooing us back to Himself. Jesus is saying to us, “Don;t forget the price I paid for you to be free. Don’t forget that it is my work for you to believe in, not add to. Don’t forget that my love for you runs deep and that there is no darkness that I didn’t plunge to redeem you.” This world has so many wonderful aspects to it and we all have things in our lives that consume our thoughts, but Jesus knows that if what He did on the cross is the one thing that we never forgot and spent the rest of our lives seeking to understand it more deeply (the Gospel), then that alone would be the answer to many other issues in our lives.
Often times our problems in life that consume us and steal our affections away from the cross are self-centered problems. James talks about this in chapter 4 of his book. Read what he says as we close: “1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
There it is. This is why we forget and Jesus has to continually remind us that He went to Jerusalem for our sake. We are, at the core of our depravity, selfish. Our passions are at war within us and Jesus says, “Oh that your passions were at war against your sin, then you’d remember the cross”. We want created things we don’t have so we plan and deceive and hurt people to get what we want and Jesus says, “Oh that you would receive what I’ve offered to you freely, then you will be free to love”. We want what others have and we desperately try to obtain things that we’ve never asked Jesus for and He says, “Oh that you would desire joy and comfort and peace and redemption from me, then you will have all that you need.” We ask with selfish motives and seek to please ourselves and we are never satisfied because the only thing that satisfies is the passion that droves Jesus to the cross for us, His love!
I wonder what the Lord’s been reminding you of in this season of life? What are you fighting for? What are you quarreling about or wishing you had? Take some time this week (before resurrection Sunday) to sit still long enough for you to hear what it is the Lord is reminding you of; and when He reminds you, take the time to pray to Him and ask Him to empower you to know Him in that area more deeply and intimately.
James says in verse 7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God.” He has spoken and revealed to you the way of redemption and reconciliation. Listen to Him and then submit your whole self to Him. Give up your selfish passions and desires, and replace them with Jesus Himself. Receive forgiveness from your sin by placing your hope and your faith in Jesus as the only One who can make you whole and forgive your sin. He is enough! May this resurrection season lead you to an ever more sweet and life transforming walk with our Lord Jesus Christ who kept His eye on Jerusalem, who went to the cross and conquered death, who fully satisfied the punishment we owed to God for our rebellion, and says to all who are sick, weary, broken, forgotten, abused, and messed up (you and I), come to me!