We've been studying the book, The Last Week, by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan in the Sunday School Class I teach. If you haven't read it...it is really well done. But as much as I like it I have problems with some of their discounting the "predictive" words of Jesus as he enters into the final week. They tend to side on the writers of the Gospels reinterpreting the context of Jesus' words in light of historical events. In the past I read, John Polkinghorne's Quantum Physics and Theology...also an great book. But I like how he views these "predictive" words of Jesus...so I'll share his opinion in the hope of stimulating your thoughts on Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:33-34 and their parallels in the other Gospels.
"Many scholars have regarded these predictions as being prophecies after the event inserted by the gospel writers, but I am not inclined to accept that judgment. No doubt the exact wording has been influenced by a subsequent knowledge of the events, but it does not seem at all strange that Jesus should go to Jerusalem that last time keenly aware of an implacable opposition to him on the part of the religious and civil authorities, realizing what its consequences were likely to be, and prepared to commit his destiny into the hands of God his Father. I believe that the predictions show us that he accepted the outcome that would follow, and that he trusted in God for his eventual vindication."
Often in my own life, after I've gone through trials and tribulations; I tend to color my story as one emphasizing my tenacity of faith. I could see the events coming at me. As I encounter those events, I could easily see what was coming and the consequences. There was nothing miraculous about what I saw…but the difference between Jesus and me is that part about being “…prepared to commit his destiny into the hands of God….” To be honest…I’m not that prepared.
Last year while I was deployed to Kuwait, I finished my 20th year of active duty in the Air Force…and that means I can hang up this job and walk away from the military with my retirement in hand. I am also at the point in my life where there are many options opened to me and I have a strong desire to put down roots. These life events are making me realize that there are events coming in the near future and decisions I’ll need to make concerning those events. I can even predict several of those events outcomes even though they are months and maybe a year away from me…based on the past. But as a Christian…am I willing to place my destiny into the hands of God? As much as I would love to say…yea…I’m right there…the truth is….
I’m human…my nature is to make things go the way I want them to go. Can I trust? Bottom-line…if I’m really going to follow Jesus…then I’m going to have to be prepared to accept the outcome and follow…trusting in God for vindication.