Heading to the Cross – Matthew 20:18-19

“See, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death. They will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked, flogged, and crucified, and on the third day he will be raised.”

Matthew 20:18-19 CSB

This is the third time that the gospel of Matthew records Jesus telling disciples that he was heading to the cross. And this time it is not something off in the future. Instead the cross awaits at the end of their trip to Jerusalem. Jesus was trying to prepare his disciples for what is coming. But they seemed steadfast in their refusal to believe it; until it happened. Jesus also offered hope to them, that he would return to life after three days. But this also never registered until after his resurrection.

It is, I suppose, understandable that the disciples failed to heed Jesus’ warning to them. After all, it did not fit with their expectations of who Jesus was (Matt. 16:21-23). They understood crucifixion as defeat, the end of all they had hoped for in following Jesus. It is really only on this side of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that we can begin to understand that rather than defeat, Jesus’ death and resurrection achieved victory over sin and death. Jesus went to the cross as an act of love, to enable us to have forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

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