31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; 33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”
34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about. Luke 18:31-34
Admit it: the disciples seem like real idiots sometimes. Jesus tells them clearly, plainly, specifically what is going to happen next, and they just don’t get it. Mock, spit, insult, flog, kill, rise again? It does not compute. The disciples don’t understand. In fact, they can’t understand: the meaning was hidden from them.
As if to drive the point home, Luke next records the story of a blind beggar outside of Jericho. The parallel is clear: these disciples are spiritually blind to the cross in the same way this beggar is blind to the world. And the solution is the same.
The beggar cries out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” It takes the divine power and presence of Jesus to heal blindness, spiritual or physical.
Admit it: the disciples seem like real idiots, until we consider how blind we can be to the cross. Like the disciples, we have a natural tendency to expect power and glory from Jesus. We take offense when we hear Jesus mocked, insulted, spit on in the media or by unbelieving friends. We don’t want to be weak or vulnerable; we would prefer to have the power in society to be comfortable in our faith.
The cross goes against the grain of our aspirations and expectations, so much so that the cross can be almost impossible to see—a spiritual blind spot where we refuse to look, because our weakness, sinfulness, and dependence are so clearly on display.
Yet there at the cross we have the only hope for spiritual blindness. To own our blindness and dependence is the only way to cling to Jesus. We, too, must become beggars: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Pray that again today.