I often resonate with the disciples in their most obtuse moments, because I’m usually in that place myself.
In today’s reading, Jesus didn’t mince his words. He laid out the reality of what he was facing in the very near future: humiliation, trials, betrayal, torture, beatings, crucifixion… he was blunt.
But the disciples had a different idea of what a messiah would be–what messiah should be. So, they didn’t understand him.
How often have I been there?
Like the disciples, we all have a way of letting our ideas and our desires color the image of Christ. It’s like looking at something through a kaleidoscope. There is so much distorting the object of our attention that we can’t even recognize it.
Imagine if you had spent your entire life looking at the world through that kaleidoscope and then one day, without warning, it is taken away. It would be impossible to understand what you are seeing, even though it is now made plain and visible.
For the disciples, seeing Jesus was much like that. There were generations of stories handed down to them, generations of hopes and dreams, generations of ideas about what a messiah would be and what he would look like… those images clouded the vision and made it difficult for anyone to look at Jesus and see him for the messiah he actually was and is.
Lent is a time for me to step back and to take assessment of my faith life. I need to identify those things that are clouding my vision of Christ in all his perfect glory… and those things are usually elements of my religious life as much as the secular world.
I have to be willing to set aside my own ideas and agendas, my desires and my thoughts about what God should do, and let myself become a part of what God is doing.
What is your idea of the messiah? What are your hopes for the messiah? What are the things that might prevent you from being able to fully understand what Jesus is trying to reveal to you now?