Luke 9:43-45 While they were all amazed at his every deed, Jesus said to his disciples, “Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
Huh? What did He just say? I think I heard Him mention something about being handed over to men. Maybe not. No one else seems to be asking Him about it, so I am just going to keep quiet. After all, He is the Son of Man. If something bad was going to happen to Him, then God would stop it. Right? I must be the only one who isn’t understanding the message here. I will just nod my head in agreement with the others. Sure, I get it. I don’t want to be the one to look like a fool.
Don’t act like this has never happened to you. You have been in the disciples’ shoes before. You know exactly what it feels like to be “out of the loop” or worse yet -that you actually weren’t even listening. You thought you had a grasp on the subject. You maintained your expertise on the matter. Then, out of the blue, someone says something that you just don’t get. What? You are too afraid to act like the fool and ask the question that everyone is dying to ask. You are an expert in this field, you cannot let others see your lack of knowledge. Your pride blocks your humility.
I was sitting around chatting with some friends and one of them brought up a complicated situation that had arisen in her life. She looked at me like I was the only one who knew about it. She even mentioned that I was the only one she had opened up to about this struggle. She was so elusive with her situation – because she was asking for prayers from all of us sitting there not advice – and I had no idea what it was that she was talking about. Later when we were alone, I was afraid to ask her what had happened. She had shared something with me that meant a lot, and I had dropped the ball. I forgot about it. I hadn’t even prayed about it, because if I had prayed – wouldn’t I remember?
I felt like a big loser of a friend. How could I have forgotten something so important? Sometimes my own selfish problems bog down my memory. I am so self –absorbed in my own life that I lose those moments that my friends share with me: those precious items that they hand over to me so delicately, so that I will lift them in prayer.
So without hesitation, I went home and prayed for my friend. God, I don’t know what my friend’s situation is, but I do know it is desperately in need of your help. She needs your strength and wisdom to make some very difficult choices. Shine your presence, brightly, into her life again. Let her feel your warmth and peace. And Lord, forgive me for not being a good friend. Forgive me for only thinking of myself. Let me seek ways to really offer my fullness to others when they seek my help. Don’t allow me to dwell on my own problems, but to live in that moment listening to my friends’ pleas for help.
I know how the disciples felt. Jesus was their friend, and they dropped the ball. This was the second time Jesus had predicted his death. He had been warning them that His time would come here on earth. So, when he told them again, and they had no idea what He was saying, they kept quiet. Now for goodness sake, it was Jesus – so I am pretty sure He knew that they had no idea what He was talking about. I am pretty sure He knew that the disciples were clueless. How sad that the disciples had missed an opportunity to uncover their faith by recognizing what was about to happen.
Imagine what it would have been like at the crucifixion if all 12 disciples were walking with Jesus on the Road to Calvary? Imagine what it would have looked like if all 12 disciples were standing under that cross with Mary, the Mother of God. Imagine what it would have looked like if they all carried Jesus to His grave. How sad that most of them were too busy thinking of themselves to be there for their friend or worse they allowed their fear to get the best of them.
That hit home to me. How many times have I denied my friends true friendship? How many times have I chosen my needs over their needs? How many times have I watched a friend fall and not helped her up? How many times have I allowed a friend to journey on a hard, difficult path and not even offered her support?
Unfortunately, the disciples were going to learn soon what their friend was trying to share with them. They were going to realize all too late that their time with Jesus (the Son of Man) was limited. Thank goodness, I didn’t have to learn that lesson with my friend. I realized I could do better, and she deserves better. She deserves a friend that listens to her secrets, and prays for her concerns.
We all could be better listeners with our friends and family, right? We all could strive to avoid the situation that the disciples were in. This week really keep your eyes and ears open to your surroundings. Try to be less self-absorbed – even if it is just for a day. After all, that is all Jesus was asking from the disciples, right?