31Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. 33On the third day he will rise again."
34The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.
35As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by."
38He called out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
39Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
40Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41"What do you want me to do for you?"
"Lord, I want to see," he replied.
42Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has healed you." 43Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.
A. God fulfills His prophecies about Christ.
“…everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.” (v. 31)
Christ’s saying here reminds us of two things: 1) the Old Testament looked forward to the coming of the Messiah and the suffering through which He would redeem sinners (e.g. Ps 22; 69, Isa 53, Dan 9:26, Zech 13:7); and 2) God not only knows the future, but is in complete control of it.
B. Jesus knew exactly what he was doing and where he was going.
“He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again." (vv. 32-33)
This is the third time in Luke’s account that Jesus warns his disciples about His impending suffering and death. What’s new this time – and may bewilder His followers all the more – is His saying that He was going to be delivered over to the Gentiles.
One might ask what purpose Jesus has in mentioning this to His disciples if the meaning of it “was hidden from them” anyways (v. 34). In hindsight, such a warning would serve His disciples – and, by extension, all subsequent human history – well, in part because it reminds us how Jesus’ suffering was all “according to plan”, and thus His mission was not “cut short” by some tragedy that He did not foresee. This idea is often propagated by individuals who may have some kind of fascination towards Jesus, but who also ignore the gospel accounts. As John MacArthur says:
One of the ways in which our Lord is continuously attacked by pseudo-scholars, skeptics and critics is that they deny that His sufferings were planned...that His sufferings were purposeful. They rather love to suggest, and have done so in innumerable books, that His suffering and death were accidental. It was a sad misfortune. It was a bad ending. It was a miscalculation on His part, a good try at bringing goodness into the world that ended in an unplanned disaster. Many books have been written to suggest that Jesus was everything from a naive, well-intentioned good man wanting to elevate people religiously by His ideas, but lacking the sense to know when He had gone too far, to a misguided nationalist whose efforts at a revelation were inept and hopeless, to a very ambitious self-styled conqueror with delusions of grandeur, to a religious nut and a whole lot more.
In any case, it's a very popular critical approach to say that things in Jesus' life did not go the way He intended them to go. And the whole ending was a nightmare at the end of what He hoped would be a dream for a better world.
Nothing could be further from the truth than that.1
C. Only God can give spiritual understanding.
“The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.” (v. 34)
Some commentators have rightly mentioned that the disciples had shown a lot of ignorance and were very slow to understand. However, it’s no less true that the LORD was concealing the significance of Jesus’ suffering until the proper time. May we be reminded that though we are responsible for our defects and shortcomings, the LORD alone should be acknowledged for providing anything within us that is good.
D. The LORD honours perseverance in faith and prayer, irrespective of all opposition.
Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" (v. 39)
The blind man demonstrated well what Jesus commended the persistent widow for in the parable He shared earlier in this chapter (18:1-8 – as well as the “nagging neighbour” in 11:5-13).
Reflection question: Do I persist in prayer even if people or circumstances discourage me from doing so?
E. The LORD will typically answer prayers that are borne in faith.
When he came near, Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?"
"Lord, I want to see," he replied. (vv. 40-41)
Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has healed you." (v. 42)
It seems that Luke is not as interested in the fact that Jesus can perform miracles, as he is by the truth that Christ gives, to those who trust in Him, “eyes to see”.
F. Answered prayer should result in praise.
Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. (v. 43)
Reflection question: Do I give praise to God for answered prayer, both in my heart and before others? Or do I tend not to give Him much of an afterthought?
1Taken from this sermon of MacArthur’s: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/42-235