Selective hearing. Most have heard the phrase and seen it in action. There’s a humorous meme floating around social media in which three different photos of an owner’s dogs show them sound asleep through the doorbell, arrival of a burglar, and approach of a “masked killer,” with a fourth photo showing those same dogs suddenly excitedly wide awake at the faint and distant sound of a cheese wrapper.
I have a couple dogs like that! In order to have a quick cheese snack all to myself, I have to run the kitchen sink so they won’t hear me remove the wrapper! Sometimes they still hear it and come running. But let me call them to go outside when I’m in a hurry, and nothing. It’s like they’re totally deaf! So I open a piece of cheese, and voila! There they are.
In our Gospel today we see it. Keep in mind that in the previous few chapters of Mark, the disciples had witnessed many miracles and heard life altering preaching from the Messiah, and three of them had experienced the Transfiguration. So, in their defense, they had a lot going on in their heads. Still, when someone you love dearly tells you they are about to die–and RISE? You’d think that might get a reaction. It didn’t.
If you look ahead to verses 35-37, you see just where the disciples’ heads were at: themselves. And so they didn’t really hear Jesus’ prediction about his death, or that last part: that three days later He would RISE! The disciples were so busy thinking about themselves that they missed it! …Until it happened. Jesus tried to prepare them for both the struggles and the glory! But they missed it. If we look at the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ arrest, Passion, and death, we see that the disciples fell apart. Because they were absorbed with themselves here in chapter 10, they missed those oh so important last six words of verse 34: “Three days later he will rise.”
Six words. The disciples missed it. Jesus tried to prepare them–just as He does us. Struggles and challenges in life will always come. Always. There is no way around the cross; only through it. But Jesus reminds us of those six words! When it is hardest to listen; when we are most distracted by our pain or struggle or busyness, He longs for us to turn off our selective hearing and remember those key six words! “Three days later he will rise.” Whatever struggle or challenge we may be facing, He will bring us through! He goes before us! Jesus leads the way, just as in verse 32, just as He always did, just as He always will do! Listen to Him!
Lord, help me focus on myself less and on Your words and Truth more! Not selectively, but fully. Today, I surrender completely to Your ways.
Rev. Leslie LaPrise – Pastor – Graham Correctional Church of the Nazarene – Columbia, SC