Summary: As Jesus and the disciples departed Capernaum and headed toward Jerusalem for the last time, there was a sense of heaviness. He accurately described the events that would transpire there - His betrayal, death, and resurrection.
A Committed Journey
Mark 10: 32-34
As we have studied the gospel of Mark, we have grown accustomed to the rapid nature in which the events in Jesus’ life and ministry were recorded. Mark left very little in between material, and fewer details than the other gospels. The first ten chapters cover the majority of Jesus’ ministry. As we come to chapter eleven, the pace will slow dramatically. With the exception of the last few verses in Mark’s gospel, the final six chapters will cover a period of little more than a week.
Our text today records the journey from Capernaum toward Jerusalem. We immediately discover the heavy mood that has settled upon Jesus and the disciples. They are making their way to Jerusalem for the final time. Once there, Jesus will spend His last days before He is crucified. We cannot imagine how the disciples might have felt at this moment. Clearly they have yet to fully comprehend all that will transpire. Eleven of them at least believe Jesus to be the Christ. They have completely surrendered their lives to Him, and likely are anticipating the kingdom they believe Jesus will soon establish.
We find a theme within the text that Jesus had spoken to the disciples about on two previous occasions – His impending death, burial, and resurrection. The Lord goes into a bit more detail and there appears to be a bit more emphasis this time. Apparently Jesus sought to convey this message in a way they could embrace.
We have considered these words in previous passages, but I want to take the time to consider this in detail today. As we discuss the expressions disclosed in the text, I want to preach on the thought: A Committed Journey.
I. The Sentiment Displayed (32a) – And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. Here we discover the committed focus of Jesus and the range of emotion felt by the disciples as they walked together. Consider:
A. The Focus of Jesus – It is evident while reading this verse that Jesus was very focused at this moment in His life. We find that He was focused on:
1. A Specific Place – And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem. Jesus knew that His hour was quickly approaching. He was well aware of the events that would soon transpire. Knowing all that would transpire in Jerusalem, Jesus was determined to go there in order to fulfill the plan of redemption. Many would soon make a similar trip to Jerusalem in order to celebrate the Passover. The Temple was located there, and Jerusalem swelled with visitors at this time of year. Jesus was certainly a Jew, but His focus was not on the sacrifices that would be offered in the Temple; He was focused on Calvary’s hill, just outside the gates of the city. He knew He was going to offer Himself as the atoning sacrifice for sin.
2. A Particular Purpose (32a) – and Jesus went before them. It is interesting to note the text reveals that Jesus went before them. This was certainly not an unusual practice. Rabbis often walked in front of their disciples, leading them in the way. Clearly Jesus was held in high regard by these men. They had embraced Him as the Christ, so this would have been expected. However, I believe we can see much more in this simple reference. No doubt Jesus had much on His mind at this moment. It is quite possible that He is using this time to talk with the Father. His hour is quickly approaching, and He is seeking to prepare Himself for Calvary.
We also see the love and commitment of Christ for these men and all whom He will die to save. Jesus is leading the way, walking ahead of them. He is aware that the cross will soon be a reality. He knows this is a journey that He must make for them. They cannot join in His suffering, and they are unable to redeem themselves. Jesus went before them as they traveled to Jerusalem, and He would soon provide the means of salvation for all men!
B. The Fear of the Disciples (32a) – and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. Mark revealed the unsettling fear felt by the disciples as they traveled with Jesus. Notice:
1. Their Emotion – We find two descriptive terms that reveal how the disciples felt at this moment. They were both amazed and afraid. Being amazed speaks of “being astonished or frightened.” Being afraid comes from the Greek word phobeo and means “to put to flight or be seized with alarm.” The English word phobia is derived from the word phobeo.