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Vicar’s Blog 7th April

Vicar’s Blog 7th April

The Vicarage
7th April 2019
Dear Friends,

As we continue to prepare for Easter, I want us to spend a few minutes reflecting on these words from Mark’s gospel, from the middle of Mark 9:

Mark 9:30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, 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.” 32 But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.

We see Jesus teaching his disciples, and we see that he is teaching them, that the Son of Man (Jesus’ preferred title for himself) is going to be killed by men, and then rise again on the third day. This then is one of three passion predictions that Jesus makes in Mark 8-10, and these predictions are all about preparing his disciples for what is going to happen in Jerusalem. Peter has declared that Jesus is the Christ – now Jesus is teaching them what it means.

And of course, as we reflect on this passage, we know that Jesus went and died on the cross for our sins. And we know that he rose again – which is why we celebrate Easter in the first place, because of Jesus’ resurrection, and why we call Good Friday good.

But notice also here what Mark tells us in verse 32. Why don’t the disciples understand? The words aren’t that hard. This is Jesus is predicting his own death, not for the first time. He will die, he will rise again. So why don’t they understand? The issue is their expectations: they were hoping (as we often see in this section of Mark) for a triumphal entry to Jerusalem, and salvation through (military) victory over God’s enemies. They couldn’t get their heads around the idea of a crucified messiah.

In other words, they wanted to recreate Jesus in their own image. We face the same temptation. Not to turn Jesus into a warrior king – but to recreate Jesus as a benevolent granter of our wishes, or a wise (but ultimately ignorable) teacher, or something else. As we approach Easter then, the challenge for us is to meet the real Jesus, the one who speaks to us through his word. Let’s do that together over the next couple of weeks.
Yours in Christ,
James