Matthew 16:21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Mark Twain once wrote: “A man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds”. History is, of course, full of stories of people who had great ideas, which at first were rejected only to prove them right later and make them heroes.
Something of the “crank” idea must have entered the minds of the disciples when they heard Jesus talk about dying and rising again. Their minds were full of the new revelations He had given them that He was the “Christ” – of the Messiah of Israel.
The problem was with this idea of the Messiah. They thought entirely in earthly terms. The Messiah was a King, a soldier, sent by God, who was to overthrow all Israel’s enemies and establish Jerusalem as the centre of the world once again. It was hard not to think in “soldier” categories or in military terms when it came to the Messiah, because for the Jews salvation was mainly a political salvation or vindication that they were indeed the people of God. So the idea of the Messiah dying was totally out of all their categories of thinking. It sounded absurd to them.
But as we know Jesus did indeed die on the Cross in Jerusalem. Three days later he rose from the dead. Slowly it dawned on the disciples that Jesus did not come to do battle with the Romans but with Satan. He did not lay His life down for an earthly cause, but rather as an atonement for the sins of the world. He shed His blood, not only to set Israel free, but to set all free who would believe in Him to trust Him for salvation.
Here is the Saviour we all need. Sinless and unblemished, He voluntarily goes to the Cross and dies as our substitute.
With what great confidence we can come to Him and as we do so all our sins are forgiven, forever.
We must always remember why Jesus came into this world. It was to deal first and foremost with sin. If we forget this then we run the risk of constantly feeling disappointed that this or that problem is not sorted out by Him.
But when we remember that He died and rose again exactly as He said He would, we take fresh heart at each unexpected twist in the road knowing that no matter how hard our life may be, He has solved the greatest of all problems – the matter of our guilt and sin – and therefore He will stand by us in all the lesser problems of life in a fallen world.
“To God be the Glory great things He hath done!
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin
And opened the Life-gate that all may go in. Amen”