This very special DESPAIR & DISILLUSIONMENT thread commemorates the greatest psy-op ever attempted against Heaven’s beloved, mankind.
Here we are again
Imagine being Peter, seeing the miracles, the honor given to his teacher, the wild popularity with the people, and then, Jesus explains all of this is going to change.
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Peter feels he must help his teacher out. Jesus must be tired and have made a mistake. It’s hard to imagine the intensity of the sting of that rebuke from Jesus. Peter, soon to be the rock of the church, had been the mouthpiece of satan? Ouch.
But Jesus then pivots and turns this into a teaching moment Peter would never forget.
The Way of the Cross
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
And then the ministry starts to get really busy. I wonder if Peter forgot those words in the whirlwind of activity, or did he in quiet moments would revisit that stinging encounter and try to make sense of it all?
Later on, Jesus would tell the parable of the tenants.
“A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.6 “He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 “But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
Would that story haunt Peter’s dreams?
Then, in Bethany, a woman pours a very expensive perfume on Jesus’ head, scandalizing all present, excepting Jesus. Again Jesus patiently explains what is coming.
6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Mark 14:6-9
This is when Judas snapped. He’d been following a madman. How could the Son of God be talking of defeat and death this way?
But Jesus did indeed suffer humiliation, torture, and death. Afterwards his closest disciples are ashamed at their lack of courage and in deep grief. His betrayer, Judas, hangs himself in despair.
The disciples of Jesus have taken a gut punch. The women following Jesus have proven to have much more courage than the men. What embarrassment! The only leadership shown was by Joseph of Arimathea, not in the inner circle at all, who boldly goes to Pilate and asks for the body of Jesus and gave some dignity to him in his death.
The disillusionment stung. The grief nearly unbearable. Such a dark fog of evil swirling around them, that they can’t even remember the promise he gave to rise on the third day.
While Christ is plundering hell, his disciples grieve.