Commentary on Luke 9:43-45
After yesterday’s reading where the disciples recognised their Master as the Messiah and are told about the death and resurrection of Jesus, there follows the scene with the three chosen apostles on the mountain where they get a glimpse of Jesus in glory (the transfiguration). This is followed by the healing of the epileptic boy.
The reaction of the crowds to this cure was that “they were all amazed at the mighty power of God”. Not, we might note, the mighty power of Jesus. Even the crowds could recognise the real source of what Jesus was doing.
It is at this high point of Jesus’ popularity that he says just to his disciples, “Let all this sink into your ears, for the Son of man will be handed over into the hands of men.” What Jesus seems to be saying is that they are to realise there is no contradiction whatever between Jesus revealing in himself the unlimited power of God and his being handed over powerless to the power of his enemies. Only when they can see and understand the meaning of a suffering Messiah will they fully know the Way of Jesus.
But, Luke tells us, they were not ready yet for this. “They did not understand what Jesus was saying. It was hidden from them and they could not see it.” At the same time they were afraid to ask him.
To what extent can we say that we understand and accept the idea of a suffering Messiah? We are used to looking at the cross of Jesus but to what degree do we see the place of suffering in our own lives? Can we see that, without pain and suffering in our own lives and in those of others, our lives would be in many ways impoverished? Strange as it may seem, it is pain and suffering that can bring out what is most deeply human in all of us.