The Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.

And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” And the disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” He answered, “Elijah does come, and he will restore all things. But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

The disciples have just witnessed the return of Elijah in a shared vision on the mountain. They have questions about the prophet and the scripture in Malachi that says:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
Jesus points to John the Baptist and alludes to the way that he was rejected and killed. This is not how everyone thought that the prophet Elijah would be received. I imagine everyone who read that verse in Malachi believed that Elijah would be acclaimed by the Jews. No one thought Elijah would have a message of simple baptism and repentance. Jesus points to John and says that he will receive a similar fate at the hands of religious people.

I wonder if this is a message that God wants us to consider? The idea that a prophet would come and be rejected is a troubling thought. And who amongst us could ever imagine that we ourselves might reject God in the flesh? Maybe the message is about how a narrow religious view can obscure our spiritual eyesight? Perhaps such a view blinds us to the voice and presence of God? Something to consider in this season of Lent.

I cannot get past my own dogma Lord. Open my eyes to your appearing.

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