The Hidden Meaning Luke 18:34
Praying over the City at Bruegger’s Bagels (800 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN).
December 5, 2018
Lately, I’ve been pondering an interesting Biblical concept that came to a major convergence yesterday. What is “truth”?
In Luke 18:31-33, Jesus pulls the core Twelve aside and tells them about the events that are to happen. That, as the prophets predicted, the Son of Man will be beaten, mocked, and executed. He goes on to say, “On the third day, he will rise again.”
It’s all quite clear. I would think, without even the historical records of this event, those hearing these words would understand—that they would get it. That the light of awareness and understanding would go off. They would know what Jesus was saying. In three sentences, He lays out this truth.
Yet, in Luke 18:34 NIV, it reads, “The disciples didn’t understand any of this. It’s meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.”
What? Whoa. Didn’t understand ANY of this? They didn’t know what he was talking about? How can this possibly be? It’s crystal clear. If you read these very few sentences, all that will happen is right there. How could they possibly not understand? “It’s meaning was hidden from them…”
In these few short words we potentially find the secret—“it was hidden from them.” Long ago, one of my first reads through the beginning pages of the Bible, I found a similar statement, and at the time I read it, I was equally as shocked. In Exodus 7, God is giving Moses and Aaron instructions on how to approach Pharaoh to free the Israelites. When I hit the third verse, I read these words, “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart…” What? Whoa. Harden his heart? Why? Why not make it soft and mailable so he’ll just listen and let your people go? Why do this heart-hardening business?
Of course, in typical Deity fashion, the Creator of the Universe doesn’t explain this choice. As I read on, I now believe that God did this, so He could perform all the miracles that came after. In doing so, many could believe, and maybe some of that same philosophy applies to this “hidden meaning” we encounter with the disciples. This wasn’t the first time Jesus told them of the upcoming events and each time, they just didn’t understand. It’s also not the only time Jesus “hid the truth”.
In Luke 24:16, the resurrected Jesus walks along two followers, and “they were kept from recognizing him.” Not that they just couldn’t tell it was Jesus, but it was “kept” from them. Hardening hearts, hidden meaning, and information kept from people. Why in the world would God chose to do that?
I don’t know the answer to that question, but these meanings that are hidden are all around us, all the time. Yesterday, a man whom I met on a dating site, read my blog and although he’s a Christian too, told me we are probably not a good fit because I am “overbalanced on compassionate/justice and not enough on truth.” He went on to say that it’s, “A common mistake among most Americans…”
I’m not sure where he gets his truth. I find mine in Jesus, and of course, those sources in which God opens my mind and heart with. I would hope he does the same, yet we arrive at different “truths”. We have a different understanding. We’ve arrived at different meanings.
Yesterday I spoke “truth” in my blog about the abundance of waste in the USA and what Jesus calls us to do. The friend who posted the meme was mad at me, and so were some of her friends, as they felt I was judging them. I apologized. That was not my intent, BUT that is where “truth” without compassion and an understanding of the injustice in the world gets us—with angry people feeling judged, and that is NOT what Jesus did.
He sat with the sinner. He opened their eyes and their mind through their heart. His meaning wasn’t hidden. Through a love He demonstrated and a humbling of self, we can do a great number of things to make this world better. Can we really have too much compassion? Isn’t there always a place for justice if inequality exists?
Dearest Heavenly Father, we live in a broken world and we need more light. We need more truth. We need a greater understanding of what you truly call us to do and to be. May we drop our selfish desires and see all people of the world as you do—your beautiful children, each and every one. We need you. This horrible mess will only get better through YOU. In Your Mighty and Holy Name…
If you’ve got some prayer requests, please lay them on me. Be blessed and may you all hidden meanings be revealed to you.