May 26

Text: Matthew 17:10-13

And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"  And He answered and said, "Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you, that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands."  Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist. (NASB)

Finally things begin the process of “coming together” for the disciples.  This was going to be a long process—a l-o-n-g process—instead of a fully comprehended eureka moment.  Peter recognized and announced that Jesus was the Christ—a good beginning.  However, after a good beginning came one confusion after another.  Jesus talked about his DEATH and resurrection; Peter was called Satan for wishing to preserve Jesus’ physical life; Jesus’ transfiguration events occurred—all of that was confusing!

What did Jesus being the Christ mean?  It was not what was commonly thought for generations!

After the return from the mountain, the disciples wanted to know about Elijah’s return.  Jesus declared Elijah’s return was connected to “the restoration.”  Then Jesus said that Elijah already had returned, was not recognized, and had been rejected—as would be his situation.

The disciples understood!  They understood that Elijah’s return occurred in the life and work of John the Baptist.  They did not understand everything, but they grasped the connection between Elijah and John.

Realize these things: (1) Understanding the meaning of Jesus being God’s Christ is a process, not a momentary discovery.  It is an unfolding, not a moment of complete insight.  Beware of thinking you have God’s work in Jesus all figured out!

(2) The “restoration” was not physical.  It involved human misunderstanding and a rejection of God’s intent.  It involved physical suffering.   “Restoration” would occur with or without human understanding or cooperation.  Much more was involved than human thoughts and desires.

Suggestion for reflection: If we grasped God’s full work in Jesus, would we be for or against God—is it His plans or our agenda?  (Read Romans 3:21-26.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell