As we come to Jesus’ second announcement of His mission of suffering, death, and resurrection, we enter into the heart of His instruction about what it means to be the Christ. While the first half of the Gospel was concerned to identify Jesus, the second half defines Him – both in instruction and in demonstration.

Recall in Jesus’ first announcement of His suffering mission that He insisted on the absolute necessity of the course He is pursuing. The path of suffering, death, and resurrection is not optional. It is the necessary path, the divinely imposed path. “The SM must suffer …” Why? Because this was the path laid out in the Word of God.

In Jesus’ words to Peter, James & John while descending from the Mt of Transfiguration Jesus highlighted this again. He undermines the scribes’ interpretation of the OT by pointing the disciples to the passages which declare the suffering of the Son of Man. “And how is it written concerning the Son of Man, that He must suffer many things and be treated with contempt?”

Now Jesus is speaking again about His coming departure. And the words He speaks reinforce what He has already said. But despite Jesus’ clarity, the disciples simply do not understand. Indeed, not only do they not understand, they don’t want to. They are afraid of the truth.