Luke 9:44-45 NLT “Listen to Me and remember what I say. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of His enemies.” (45) But they didn’t know what He meant. Its significance was hidden from them, so they couldn’t understand it, and they were afraid to ask Him about it.
Whether you were in a classroom at school, at a sports practice, in youth group, or sitting around a restaurant table with friends or family there is a good chance at some point you had a question, but decided not to ask because you “felt” stupid. For a lot of things today we just glance down at our smart phones and quickly look it up on the internet. Other things you might just smile and nod your head as if you knew what they were talking about. People do that because they are concerned about being seen as dumb or feel this is information they will be judged for not knowing.
Jesus just emphatically told His disciples He was going to be turned over His enemies and though they didn’t understand what He meant they didn’t ask. They were probably afraid He would rebuke them for not knowing and none of them was willing to speak up. Peter had just been rebuked for opening his mouth and saying something dumb by the Father God, while he, John, & James were with Jesus on a nearby mountain where Moses & Elijah appeared and Jesus began to shine with glory (Luke 9:27-36). And the rest of the disciples had been rebuked by Jesus when He learned they had not been successful in casting the demon out of the young boy whose father brought him to them (Luke 9:37-42). But living in ignorance is not bliss.
Their lack of clarity led to greater fear later when Jesus was betrayed into the hands of the chief priests and turned over to Pilot to be crucified. They had an opportunity to ask Jesus for clarity, to explain what He was talking about as they had done many times in the previous 3 years as He taught the masses in parables. But this time they were afraid. They probably felt like they should know what He meant and maybe they should have. But they let the social pressure and desire to look smart keep them from understanding something their teacher wanted them to know. But if they understood what was going to happen better, how might they have prepared and reacted differently at His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection (it wasn’t just Thomas that doubted when Mary, Joanna, and Mary Magdalene told the disciples that Jesus had raised from the dead (Luke 24:10-11)).
Don’t let social anxiety keep you in the dark and ignorant about things your children, your parents, your boss, your pastor, etc… are trying to tell you. If you don’t understand, ask for clarity. Understanding today can lead you to live fearlessly tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Mark 9:31-32 NKJV For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.” (32) But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him.
We’ve all been in a situation where someone says something that they obviously think we understand what they are talking about or are expecting us to do… but it reality we are unsure or have no clue. We want to ask but are afraid that we’ll look foolish, ignorant, and the person will think less of us, so we just smile and nod our head uncomfortably while we try to figure out what they are saying. Jesus just got done telling His disciples very plaining what would soon take place regarding His death, burial and resurrection and even though this wasn’t the first time He’d spoken to them about it they still didn’t understand and were terrified to ask Him.
It’s easy to fault them for not understanding, but none of these guys had been born-again yet so none of them have the Teacher the Holy Spirit living within them. Besides that, nothing that Jesus was telling them lined up with their understanding or present day doctrines regarding the Christ. They didn’t understand and were afraid of looking foolish or even of being rebuked. They may have remembered the last time Jesus was talking about His death and resurrection, when Peter took Jesus aside and tried to rebuke Him only to have Jesus soundly correct Peter (Mark 8:31-33). Peter too could have asked for Jesus to explain, but having been rebuked he was afraid too.
I often read the Word and come across things I don’t understand, when I do it’s easy to ask the Lord in the privacy of my family room or office what it means. Often I’ll put a question mark next to the passage or write it down to look up later and inquire of the Lord when I have more time to study and let Him teach me. But in public it is more difficult to ask for another explanation or for clarification because we become afraid of looking like a fool.
Well it’s better to ask a question and look like a fool for 5 minutes, then not to ask and stay one. If you don’t ask questions, you’re not going to find out what the answer is. Don’t be afraid of asking them, because ultimately people will appreciate your curiosity. Even better than that, clarity will come and you can confidently continue with understanding of the subject matter or the expectations that you’ve been given. So whether it’s your pastor, your boss, or your doctor; don’t be afraid to ask them questions about what they are saying. It’s that simple. Asking questions will alleviate anxiety and bring the information you need to move forward.
PS Unless you have a Q&A format in your church services you should probably wait to ask until after the service or call and make an appointment.