(We have just finished half of the first book. Good job! Keep it up!)
So Jesus calls a woman a dog. And tells people to get ready to die. He scolds his most loyal follower and calls him Satan. He says the way to be first is to be last. Today he seems to condone maiming oneself (Surely not literal, right? Go read Flannery O’Connor’s “Wise Blood” if you think physically blinding oneself would eliminate a spiritual problem like sin). This Jesus is such an enigma!
I understand why it says twice in today’s chapter that his followers were confused:
They held on to this saying amount themselves, puzzling about what this “rising from the dead” might mean. (9:10)
They didn’t understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him. (9:32)
I am convinced that much like the apostles were finding out, following Jesus is not as easy and clear-cut as we sometimes make it. I think, as someone said on here last week, that is why this whole enterprise is called “faith.”
However, we know, by the end, because of the Holy Spirit most of all (contrast the apostles in Acts 1 and Acts 2 and ask yourself what is the only thing that changes), that they did get it. The tough shell of their everyday thinking cracked open and spiritual wisdom was birthed. Timidity gave way to boldness. Those that ran from the cross, ran to their own crosses — sometimes literally. A Pharisee became the greatest missionary ever.
There is hope for us still. Because God is good. Because today is “Friday” but “Sunday’s” coming. Because God’s not done with us yet!