As Passover Approaches, Jesus Christ Approaches Jerusalem and the Cross – He Tells Us Why!
The crisis of the cross looms. It is a pivotal point. The disciples are apprehensive as Jesus explains what he is the mystical chris going to experience. In Mark Chapter 10, Jesus tells us WHY – to give His life as a ransom for many – to buy people back from their fallen lost sinful condition. Jesus had come to save men from their sins – and Jesus knew He came to die. The ‘wise men’ who visited Bethlehem 33 years previously indicated that, by their gifts. Now, our response would probably have been something along the lines of, “You asked Him where He lived?! ” Can’t you just hear it from our perspective? “You what?! You get to ask the Messiah, the one who has come to save us, one question and that’s the best you could come up with?! ” We would have thought that question to have been a total waste of time, wouldn’t we? This seems like a pretty casual & trivial question to ask the one who claims to be the Messiah, the one whom your grandparents, your parents, and you have prayed to come for generations, doesn’t it? We would not care where He came from.
Based on today’s western culture, we would most likely want to know three basic things; John portrays Jesus’ opponents as having largely misunderstood his purpose and message. At times, this lack of understanding is due to a faulty world-view (e. g. the prevalent view of a one-dimensional messianic theocracy). In other instances, they fail to perceive the spiritual underpinnings of Jesus’ language (e. g. “I am the bread of heaven” 6: 32-24). They also fail to grasp the somewhat cryptic use of typological language (e. g. “tear down this temple, and I will rebuild it in three days” 2: 19). On other occasions, they demonstrate a fundamentally flawed understanding of scripture altogether, as is the case with their misunderstanding of the Messiah’s origin (7: 27). In yet another place, John records that the crowd failed to grasp Jesus’ use of a figure of speech referring to himself as the Shepherd (10: 1-7). Lastly, not even the highly educated and accomplished rabbinic crowd was immune to misconstruing Jesus’ words (3: 9-11).
This isn’t to say that the unbelieving Jews could not understand anything they heard Jesus say. The quintessential example of this is Jesus stating that “Before Abraham was born, I AM” (8: 58). The response of the pious Jews is to stone him for blasphemy. Jesus does not censure them for their accusation because they have correctly understood this as an overt claim of deity. Though they apprehend the meaning of Christ’s claim, they fail to accept it because they are operating under a flawed messianic framework and they do not have a personal revelation of its truth by the Spirit.
The opponents of Jesus do not understand him, or at best have a partial understanding of Christ’s teachings and mission and they refuse to believe. Jesus communicates to them that without a willing heart to believe, they can not possibly understand that he is in the Father and the Father is in him (10: 38). Obedience to Christ was essential if they were to later receive the Spirit of Truth who would provide an explanation of “all things. “Who was Jesus? Was he the unique Son of God, different from the rest of us? Who was Jesus? He was a person from the region of Galilee who lived during the first three decades of the common era.
He was a teacher, healer, and social activist in the tradition of the Old Testament prophets. He gathered around him a small group of disciples. Some claimed that he was the Messiah. He was crucified around the year 30CE at Jerusalem after which his followers made a unique claim – resurrection. Most Jews believed in resurrection, a return to life of all people at the end of time for judgment. But Jesus’ followers claimed that resurrection happened to Jesus alone — during time instead of at the end of time. The expectation was that Jesus would be coming back to finish a Messiah’s work.