Matthew 20:17-19 – “And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.’”
Have you ever been told something so clearly that the person saying it would think there was no way you could confuse it? Just this morning, there was a moment of frenzy in our home. Just yesterday, we asked one of our kids to put my son’s recorder for music class in his backpack. We gave the instructions very clearly, yet this morning when we looked for the recorder, it was nowhere to be found. Thankfully the crisis was averted when we found the recorder on my son’s dresser in his bedroom. What was very clearly said yesterday, was somehow confused. Consider Matthew 20:17-19 in this light.
Matthew 21 is the triumphal entry, which was a short time before Jesus died. How much more clearly could the disciples have heard what was going to take place? Jesus directly tells the disciples that the Son of Man will be arrested, condemned, crucified, and even raised! When you read the last few chapters in Matthew, you see very clear evidence that the disciples either didn’t believe Jesus or they forgot these words or they didn’t understand what Jesus was saying.
Peter denied knowing Jesus while Jesus was in custody. It was as if Peter was surprised that Jesus was arrested. While Jesus was being crucified, the majority of the disciples were nowhere to be found. After Jesus was resurrected, Thomas was found to be skeptical of Jesus’ resurrection. In addition to all of this, consider the profession that Peter made of Jesus. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Apparently he believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah, yet somehow he misunderstood God’s plan.
How could something explained so clearly and deliberately be so confused or forgotten or disbelieved? We don’t know. They would have understood that Jesus was the Son of Man, since he referred to himself in that way throughout the gospels. This is an example of where our faith needs to have feet.
I regularly hear people (and have experienced myself) explain how they know ideas to be true in their mind, yet the truth they know intellectually doesn’t seem to make its way to their heart, their emotion. For example, many people will claim to believe the promise God gives us that says that God will provide us with what we need just like he clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the sparrows. We can claim to know this truth with our minds, but yet doubt with our hearts.
I think the key to taking these truths to our hearts is by preaching the truths of God’s Word to our heart. When God speaks to you and leads you, set up a memorial. Remind yourself regularly of God’s leading. When your heart is struggling to believe a truth that you have been given that you believe in your mind, preach the truth to your heart. When you begin to doubt, take those doubting thoughts captive and preach the truth of God’s Word to yourself. By hiding God’s Word in your head and preaching it to your heart, you will also be hiding it in your heart, and you will find yourself not just believing with your head, but also believing with your heart.