“They did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him”Mark 9:32
Peter, James and John had been on the mountain with Jesus when Elijah and Moses appeared to them but it seems they missed the most important aspect of that meeting. The conversation with Moses and Elijah concerned Jesus’ coming death and resurrection (Luke 9:31). As important a component as that was, it was not the most critical.
Not for the first or last time in the Gospels Jesus’ disciples are exhorted to “Hear Him.” Also, at the end of each letter to the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3 we read, “He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Good teachers are a blessing but Jesus is looking for, and the church needs, good hearers. This is the essence of being a disciple: one who is teachable and hears to the point of doing what Jesus says.
The reason the disciples were confused when Jesus spoke of His betrayal, death and resurrection (v 31) was that they did not take note of the Father when He said to them, “Hear Him.” That is, take on board the words of Jesus as factual and to be applied in the normal literal sense. Unfortunately they did what so many people do. Because the words of Jesus don’t fit our theology we either dismiss them as irrelevant or try to manipulate them to fit our own ideology. Jesus spoke plainly so they could understand what was to come.
When Jesus was betrayed, His disciples fled. Because he didn’t believe what Jesus had said, Peter, out of his confusion and ignorance, put on a brave front with a sword – but he was acting contrary to the will of God.
The Second Coming of Jesus is well documented in Jesus’ teaching, in the writings of the prophets, and in the New Testament. Although there is much recorded concerning His Second Coming, there is confusion among Christians. This confusion exists for the same reason it existed among the disciples when Jesus was betrayed and taken to be crucified. Many people will not take Jesus and other biblical writers at face value. If some part of the Bible doesn’t fit their theology they either dismiss that part, interpret it to fit their own ideology, or remain confused. One can only wonder how different the disciples’ actions might have been had they obeyed the Father’s command, “Hear Him.” How different our peace and joy would be if we took Jesus at His word.