The disciples spent much of their time being confused, and they pretty much stayed that way until they were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. What really messed them up was when Jesus started talking about going to Jerusalem to be mistreated and then to be killed. If he’s the Son of God, how can anyone kill him? The Messiah is supposed to conquer his enemies, not be conquered by them.
Three times in our readings for this week Jesus stops to tell his disciples what lies ahead. It confuses and distresses them, even leading Peter to step in and try to persuade Jesus not to do it.
Jesus’s response to them is his response to us . . . “take up your cross and follow me.”
Jesus didn’t come to be pampered and served. He, quite literally, came to die. And he calls us to learn to live outward-focused lives and to be willing to live sacrificially, walking in his footsteps toward Jerusalem. It’s an all-encompassing and humbling call that we must spend our entire lives learning to follow.