Bible treehuggercomContinuing a study of the passages from Luke’s Gospel which have been omitted from the three-year Lectionary for public worship, today’s post is part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to understanding Scripture.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Luke 9:43-45

Jesus Again Foretells His Death

   43 But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, 44“Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

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Last week’s post had the first part of verse 43, which in the English Standard Version (and perhaps others), concludes the healing of the boy with the unclean spirit:

43And all were astonished at the majesty of God.

In reading the Gospels, we better understand the Apostles’ perspective in sharing Jesus’s ministry. Prior to the healing of the boy, Peter, James and John witnessed the Transfiguration. Therefore, those closest to Him saw much glory, in miracles, healing and a glimpse of the Kingdom to come.

In this passage, while the people were marvelling at another wonderful healing miracle, Jesus gave an earth-shattering message to the disciples (verse 43). He told them to let it sink in — ‘into your ears’, a Greek expression, John MacArthur says (verse 44). In other words, ‘between your ears, in your heads’. He explained that He would be delivered into the hands of men, language one used to read in newspapers not so long ago when criminals were ‘delivered’ to the police.

We can imagine the cognitive dissonance and fear the disciples experienced (verse 45). They, as Matthew Henry explains, still had the idea of Jesus as an earthly Messiah:

They had a fond conceit of his temporal kingdom, and that he should reign, and they with him, in secular pomp and power and now they thought that this mighty power of his would easily effect the thing, and his interest gained by his miracles in the people would contribute to it and therefore Christ, who knew what was in their hearts, takes this occasion to tell them again, what he had told them before, that he was so far from having men delivered into his hands that he must be delivered into the hands of men, so far from living in honour that he must die in disgrace and all his miracles, and the interest he has by them gained in the hearts of the people, will not be able to prevent it.

A fuller picture emerges when we read the other two accounts of Jesus’s statement. First, Mark 9:30-32 (differences highlighted in bold):

Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection

 30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, 31for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.

Second, Matthew 17:22-23:

Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection

 22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, 23and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed.

Yet, as MacArthur points out, Isaiah 53 prophesies the trajectory of Jesus’s life. Please take the time to read it in full. The first six verses follow (emphases mine); John 1 evokes verse 3:

1 Who has believed what he has heard from us?
   And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
   and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men;
   a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
   he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

 4 Surely he has borne our griefs
   and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions;
   he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
   we have turned—every one—to his own way;
 and the LORD has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all.

In closing, John MacArthur analyses the lack of comprehension on the disciples’ part and Jesus’s decision to say no more on the subject:

they’re getting close now. They’re headed to Jerusalem … The Lord didn’t force the issue. The Lord Himself hid it from them [be]cause there was just too much for them to bear. The Lord allowed their self-protective disbelief to shelter them and shield them from too great a sorrow and too great an anxiety that would have literally turned them into people with ongoing panic attacks. And they, of course, it says at the end of verse 45, were afraid to ask Him about the statement. They didn’t want any more information, He didn’t give them any more.

And:

If they knew all the things that were going to happen, they would have run even then and they would have missed their last six months of training. It was bad enough after the training, they still fled. But at least they fled after the training and they were all regathered after the resurrection and everything made sense. It was concealed from them, parakalupto, by divine action. The Lord held it back from them.

Every now and then, we read of or hear theologians say that Jesus was purely political and died for crimes against the Romans. Not at all. MacArthur says:

those people who say that Jesus’ plans never materialized, that everything Jesus hoped for went awry. Jesus was trying to bring in the Kingdom but somehow things went wrong and He was killed are liars of the rankest order. All along Jesus said, “I am going to be delivered over to them. I am going to be killed by them. And I am going to rise on the third day.” That was in the plan from the very beginning. There was no plan B, there was no disruption of plan…nothing went wrong, everything went exactly right. Even Judas was planned. Even Judas was prophesied in the Old Testament as the familiar friend who would lift up his heel against the Lord, the one with whom He would break bread would betray Him. Yes Judas was culpable in Jesus being delivered into the hands of men. It was Judas who delivered Jesus to the Jews, to the leaders.

Psalm 109 is often referred to as the Iscariot Psalm.

Next time: Luke 9:46-48