“But they didn’t understand what he was saying, and they were afraid to ask him what he meant.”
When Jesus told his closest disciples that he was about to be killed and resurrected, this was the confusion that ensued. They weren’t getting it. They’d missed his point, but the more discouraging thing is that they let their fear keep them from understanding. How many times had they had to ask Jesus to clarify?
But now, they contented themselves with continuing on in ignorance. They put a period on the end of the statement, when they should have asked the question. Instead of asking him to explain, the conversation moved into a comparison of their own positions. “Which one of us is greater?” Without a clear understanding of what Jesus was about to do, the disciples resorted to posturing for power within their group. I wonder if we’re very different… How far are we from repeating the disciples’ folly?
I love how Jesus redirects their thinking: stop worrying about who’s the greatest and just serve. He takes a child in his arms and compares relating to this child with relating to him. And here’s where I see a little twist: kids ask questions. When they don’t know something, they ask. I dropped my 3 oldest kids off at school this morning. It was the first day of the new school year. New teachers, new rooms, new classmates… There’s a lot of ‘new’ that affects them each differently – but what I truly hope is that their curiosity conquers their fears. I hope they’ll dig deep into what they do not know, because in the digging they’ll learn and grow.
The church today cannot afford to let our curiosity die. If we’re unclear about what Jesus is up to in our world today, we need to ask. Wouldn’t you rather be known for curiosity than ignorance? Refuse to let your fear keep you from understanding. Don’t be content to continue riding along in ignorance.