I quite often hear people saying something like this – do you want the good news or the bad news? When answering such a question, some people will always go for the good news first, knowing that this will help them cope with whatever bad news might follow. Others will want to hear the bad news first, so that however bad it really is, they know they have something good to look forward to.
In the conversation that Jesus had with his disciples, just prior to our Scripture for today, He had asked the disciples, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" It was the apostle Peter who got the right answer when he said, "the Christ of God." Peter had really understood through divine revelation who this amazing teacher and healer that they were following really was. God the Father had given him revelation and he had spoken out what God had put into his spirit (Matthew 16: 17).
It was at this moment that the disciples, probably for the first time, really understood that the Rabbi they were following was, indeed, the One who had been prophesied about by Isaiah and many other prophets. I would love to have been there to see the look of amazed revelation that passed across the faces of all the disciples who were present. There would surely have been an explosion of excitement in their emotions as this extraordinary truth about the nature of Jesus began to dawn on their understanding. It could, perhaps, have broken out into premature public revelation and euphoria, for Jesus immediately asked them "not to tell this to anyone." For while the knowledge of who Jesus really was, and is, was extraordinarily wonderful good news, first there was some bad news that the disciples had to both hear about, and eventually understand, before the full revelation of Jesus, the son of God, could be made to the world.
The bad news that Jesus had to share with them was really bad news. For Jesus then told them that he was going to suffer many things in Jerusalem. He would be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law and he must be killed before they could celebrate the good news that on the third day he would be raised again to life.
On this day when the Christian church worldwide remembers the death of our Lord Jesus, my heart is filled with an immeasurable depth of thanksgiving for the one who knew what was ahead of him, but did not turn away from the path of sacrifice – the one and only sacrifice which made it possible for our sins to be forgiven, because our debt was going to be paid for on the cross. Hallelujah, what a Saviour!
Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for your amazing love for sinners such as me. Thank you that You, knowing who You were, still chose to walk the path of sacrifice, so that we may know that God loves us and that we could be redeemed out of the hands of the enemy and enjoy eternal life both now and for evermore. Amen.
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