Sometimes we are selectively sight impaired. There are things we don’t want to see or believe. People do this for many reasons and about many things. Some people ignore the evidence of wrongness in their child. This is not positive thinking; this is not love covering a multitude of sins. This is harmful, not getting your child the help they need, blindness. It is the person who refuses to see that abuse is happening or even wrong. The alternative feels too scary. Scarier than being beaten again. People do this all the time with God. It looks a bit different, but it amounts to the same dangerous blindness. And Satan may just be involved. You see, there are things that Satan doesn’t want us to see.
In Luke 9:43b-45 Jesus’ disciples are selected to not see. Everyone was astonished at all that Jesus was doing. The buzz must have been electric. This guy had authority over demons, he fed thousands with very little, he healed the sick. Was there anything that this man could not do? The disciples hear this buzzing and are full of Jewish expectation. They suspect that Jesus just may be the Messiah; the anointed one; the one who would defeat the tyrant Romans; the one who would rededicate the Temple; the one that would restore Israel. The disciples were a part of the fabric of which Israel was woven. Their sight was determined by cultural expectations of what God would accomplish through his Messiah. So, as the crowds buzz, the disciples buzz right along with them.
Jesus tells them, “Put these words into your ears.” This was an idiomatic expression that meant, “You need to pay special attention to this.” And he is not telling them to allow the crowd buzz become an ear worm. He is trying to tell them that what he is about to tell them; what he has already told them; is super important. The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. Again, the Son of Man prophecy in Daniel 7:13-14 seems to be in view. In that vision, the one like a son of man will go up to the Ancient of Days and be given a kingdom that will never be destroyed. Jesus is claiming to be the fulfillment of that vision. But it will not at all be like what the Jewish people expected. Instead of a great military victory, the Son of Man is delivered over into the hands of men. He had already told them in verse 22 that “the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and raised up on the third day.” There is no need to repeat this. The disciples should get the point. Instead of a great victory, there will be a great defeat. There will be betrayal. The perfect Son of Man will be delivered over to a mob of men.
But the disciples did not get the point. In fact, they were completely ignorant to the meaning of this word. That this message was hidden from them can refer to many things. Many assume that divine providence is at work here. They are not meant to understand until after the resurrection. But what if this is about Satanic sight searing? O to be sure, the disciples are culpable. They don’t want to see. They are more than willing to allow Satan to adversely effect their view. The truth is too far removed from the fabric of their existence. Before they could see, all of their cultural expectations would have to tumble. So, maybe Satan used their history and their expectations to blind them. And they were more than happy to be blinded. They didn’t want to see a Messiah who was defeated. They didn’t want to see a Messiah who died a horrible death. They had been let down too many times already. They thought the age of Zerubbabel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Hagai had issued in a rebuilding age. Then came Antiochus Epiphanes, who claimed to be the divine revelation. He desecrated the Temple and tried to force the Jews to eat pork. And their hopes floundered until Judah the Hammer rose up and defeated the Greeks and restored the Temple. And for seven years they dreamed. Then came Pompey and his army. And Rome was in charge. So, no thank you. We have had enough of disappointments.
Expectations will blind you just as surely as acid thrown into the eyes. And Satan works here. He is happy for you to have all manner of expectations of God. Anything that keeps you from seeing the suffering Christ, is just fine with him. I believe that Jesus has issued in the Kingdom of God. Some don’t see it because it isn’t what they expect or want. There is no military genius here, who defeats the dreaded tyrant. There is death here. The Kingdom is not about military victory. The Kingdom is about death. And then victory. Death and glory. That is the Good News of the Messiah. Grace, Walter