The apostles didn’t believe that Jesus really had to suffer.
- They did not believe Jesus’ own words because they imagined the Messiah as an earthly conqueror who would re-establish the Kingdom of Israel in grand style.
- They did not believe Jesus’ own words because they were intoxicated by their own dreams of triumph and victory.
- They also imagined their own occupation of comfortable places in the kingdom.
And, yet, Jesus consistently emphasizes the necessity for the Christ to suffer so to fulfill the Father’s will and enter into glory.
It is not until after the descent of the Holy Spirit that the apostles believe Jesus said what He meant and meant what He said. Only after Pentecost do the apostles believe the greatest honor is following and preaching Christ Crucified.
We wrestle similarly with strong natural tendencies toward comfort which cry out to us in our distress and tempt us from keeping our eyes set squarely on Christ Jesus.
So, then, if we dare to follow Jesus, to imitate Him, to strive to live as intentional disciples, can we complain if we meet suffering along our way?