Sticking With Jesus: Mark 10:32-34

Focus Passage: Mark 10:32-34 (NIV)

32 They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33 “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”

Read Mark 10:32-34 in context and/or in other translations on!

As Jesus and the disciples were headed to Jerusalem for the last time, Jesus pulls the disciples aside and tells them about what will happen to Him while they are there. Prior to this, Jesus’ followers already are aware that the Jewish leaders are looking for a way and time to arrest and kill Him, and it is likely that Jesus’ message here doesn’t ease their minds at all.

Mark’s gospel opens this event with an interesting description: “They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid.” (v. 32a)

This introduction is amazing in my mind because not only does Jesus know exactly what is coming, He is blazing the trail ahead right on schedule for it to happen. While this makes sense in most circumstances, the trail Jesus is leading the disciples on is the trail He knows will bring Him pain and death – even if He also knows that resurrection is in His future.

Mark tells us the disciples were astonished at Jesus, and those who followed were fearful. The whole group knows that Jerusalem includes the most powerful people who opposed Jesus, and Jerusalem was the place in the entire country where Jesus would be most easily condemned to death. The disciples are astonished that Jesus actively is leading the group towards certain death, and those following along are fearful not just for Jesus, but for themselves as well.

Often when a high profile arrest happened, those following would be arrested too, and there had been times in Roman history where all of a leader’s followers were executed (even crucified) along with the leader the Romans wanted to kill. If Jesus was correct with His prediction that death would meet them in Jerusalem (and He was), then those following along were completely justified in their fear.

But while Jesus blazed the trail forward, while the disciples were astonished, and while those following along were fearful, we don’t see any indication that the astonishment or fear present in the group caused people to stop walking with Jesus. All the disciples and all those following in the large group stayed with Jesus and this is important for us to remember.

We can learn from Jesus’ last trip to Jerusalem that sometimes we will be amazed, astonished, or even fearful when walking with Jesus, but we can trust that He knows the future, and that at the end of history, the safest place for us to be is beside Jesus – even if being beside Jesus has been scary at times.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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