No one understood the nature of Jesus’ Messiahship as He journeyed up to Jerusalem—not even the disciples who were closest to Jesus. Jesus explained to them repeatedly that His role was not that of the nationalistic military conqueror they had expected, but they still didn’t understand.
Mark tells us that Jesus and His disciples “were on the road going up to Jerusalem” (Mark 10:32) when Jesus took the disciples aside to tell them yet again what would happen to Him. It is significant that Mark specifies their location; one always goes up to Jerusalem, not only because of the increase in elevation, but also because it is the high holy city. Mark clearly pictures for us here the fact that Jesus was resolutely determined to head to Jerusalem.
More Than a Rabbi
Mark further specifies that “Jesus was walking on ahead of them.” (Mark 10:32) It was customary for a Rabbi to walk ahead of his disciples by perhaps eight to ten feet. This was a traditional way for a disciple to show appropriate deference to his teacher. Jesus did not normally require this particular show of deference from His disciples though He was often called Rabbi and clearly filled that role in other ways.
Jesus had good reasons for walking ahead of His disciples in the customary rabbinical way as they journeyed together in this passage. Continue reading