And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it. (Luke 9:43-45, NIV)
I wonder why they were afraid to ask him? Was it because he had just healed a boy and thrown out a demon after the disciples had failed to do the same?
Comparing ourselves to Jesus can be pretty intimidating.
I wonder why Jesus wanted at this moment to tell them this? Was it because he was coming down from the mountain of transfiguration and the staggering cheers from the crowds who saw him heal? Did he want to shake them out of the illusion that it was all going to be sunshine and applause?
The next thing that happens is the disciples start angling for the best seats in the kingdom. Was it all going to their heads?
They started pointing out people who didn’t deserve to use Jesus’ name. Were they getting too puffed up about being the in crowd?
They offered to call down fire to burn up all the dirty Samaritans who dared to be rude to them. Were they getting delusions that they were a band of new Elijah’s cutting Ahab and Jezebel down to size?
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62, NIV)
Jesus does not want to sell us any snake oil about all this. He does not want us to fall in love with the glitter. There will be mountain-top moments, but the kingdom is not fully here yet. It is a kingdom in conflict with with the world that has no interest in its true Lord.