Devotional Thoughts: The beginning of the end of Jesus' earthly mission
Earlier, I blogged a bit about the Transfiguration which is the event at the beginning of chapter 17.
I can only imagine the cognitive dissonance the disciples felt. They have seen Jesus do miracles. He always seemed to know how to respond to critics. Now, three of the disciples have seen Jesus in glory like the way Moses caught a glimpse of God in the Old Testament. In this transfiguration moment, they would think, AIN'T nothing stopping Jesus now from restoring the nation of Israel!
But, in Mt. 16:21, Jesus had plainly told them he would be killed. And now, in Mt. 17:9, he talks about being raised from the dead. Mark 9:2-8 and Luke 9:28-36 described the same incident. Each has a slightly different angle but the story is essentially the same.
From the Mark 9:10, the disciples were clearly having a hard time putting their minds around Jesus talk about dying and rising from the dead.
I suppose that is why they ask about why must Elijah return before the Messiah. They had a picture in their head about what the coming of the Messiah would be like and what Jesus was telling them didn't fit.
Jesus continues to explain to them, well, Elijah has come (John the Baptist) and wasn't recognized and mistreated (John the Baptist was behead back in Mt. 14) and soon the Son of Man (Jesus himself) will suffer.
Jesus suffered on the Cross for us. We have all sinned and should suffer but he took it upon himself. He took our place.
This is God's love for us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.