The end was near: Jesus was to be glorified and that was inevitable and was going to happen very soon. Jesus sets His face towards Jerusalem in the knowledge of certain suffering and death. I have read through the Bible many times, especially the Gospels and new things come out each time. As I have read this passage this morning it appears to me that Jesus is as much concerned about His suffering as He is about His death. In reflecting on this, I am reminded that this is the King of the Universe, myriads of angels bow down before Him and do His bidding. He speaks and the words cause things to happen: yet for the sake of the world Jesus will have to bow His head and accept the vile words, the beatings, the injustice of cruel but mere men (the only woman involved in the trials and condemnation of Jesus is Pilate's wife who tells her husband to find Jesus innocent).
In these couple of verses we can discover three things about the character of Jesus:
1. The loneliness of Jesus. He has spent three years in the company of others, but His death was to be accomplished on His own. I use the word 'accomplished' here as it appears certain, particularly in John's account of Christ's trials, torture and death that He is in charge throughout. Even the, at times highly insensitive, disciples recognise that there is something dark and painful going on here. However, if Jesus had talked more to His disciples they would only have tried to stop Him as Peter had attempted to do.
2. The courage of Jesus. We can read three times in this Gospel of the warnings of Jesus concerning His death and each time they grow in detail and horror. Chapter 8 v 31 is a bare announcement; Chapter 9 v 31 there is the hint of a betrayal and this time there is the joking, the mocking, the beatings. This then is not the courage of someone who acts instinctively-dives into a river to save a toddler from drowning, for example-but of someone who knows how bad it will get, can choose not to go there, but decides to head straight into it instead.
3. The personal magnetism of Jesus. By this stage, the disciples were fully aware that Jesus was the Messiah and that He was going to die. Understandably they could not tie these two things together, but they knew that they loved Jesus and so they were compelled to accept what they could not comprehend. This is the very essence of the Christian life. Do you love Jesus so much that you will willingly go to the darkest places with Him?