Luke 9:45

ESV But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
NIV But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
NASB But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they would not comprehend it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement.
CSB But they did not understand this statement; it was concealed from them so that they could not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
NLT But they didn’t know what he meant. Its significance was hidden from them, so they couldn’t understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
KJV But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.

What does Luke 9:45 mean?

The disciples have witnessed greatness and divine power firsthand. Their ears are ringing with the praise and adoration of the crowds (Luke 9:43). Peter, John, and James saw Jesus standing with Moses and Elijah, glowing with the glory of God, and heard God's voice calling Jesus His Son, affirming Jesus is the Messiah (Luke 9:28–36). Thus far, the Twelve have seen Jesus:

•Heal a man from a distance (Luke 7:1–10).
•Raise a dead man (Luke 7:11–17).
•Calm a storm (Luke 8:22–25).
•Rescue a man from a horde of demons (Luke 8:26–39).
•Raise a dead girl (Luke 8:41–41, 49–56).
•Heal a chronically ill woman (Luke 8:42–49).
•Feed thousands of people with one small lunch (Luke 9:10–17).
•Expel a demon that had spent years trying to kill a boy (Luke 9:37–43).>

All evidence points to Jesus bringing in His great kingdom soon. The problem is that Jesus keeps saying otherwise (Luke 9:44). Christ and the disciples are traveling in Galilee (Mark 9:30). As they go, Jesus reminds them that He is going to be killed and after three days, be raised again (Mark 9:31). The words don't make sense. The people love Him. He can calm a violent storm with one statement. What could people do to Him?

Matthew mentions the disciples "were greatly distressed" (Matthew 17:23). Mark also mentions that they didn't understand what Jesus was saying (Mark 9:32). Only Luke mentions "it was concealed from them." We don't know why or how. Did the Holy Spirit conceal it from them? Did their own hardened hearts make them unable to understand? Or did the Holy Spirit conceal it because of their hardened hearts—demonstrated by Peter's reaction when Jesus first broached the topic (Matthew 16:22–23)? Was it simply not time for them to fully understand? Something else?

The problem seems to be a combination of factors. Earlier, when Jesus told the disciples He is going to die (Luke 9:21–22), Peter rebuked Him (Mark 8:31–33). God the Father specifically told Peter, James, and John to listen to Jesus, seemingly inferring they were not sufficiently doing so before (Luke 9:35). Meanwhile, the other nine were struggling with a demon (Luke 9:40) despite the fact Jesus had given them authority over all evil spirits (Luke 9:1). After the resurrection, Jesus will tell His followers on the road to Emmaus that their unbelief proved they were "foolish" and "slow of heart" (Luke 24:25).

Despite everything they have seen and heard, the disciples' faith is weak (Matthew 17:20). They believe Jesus within their own worldview. When He drifts into areas that do not match their expectations, their ears—and hearts—conceal the truth from them.

Luke's account continues, showing that the disciples' hardness of heart is not limited to Jesus' future. They argue over who is greatest (Luke 9:46–48); try to stop a man from casting out demons in Jesus' name, an ability Jesus gave them, but they failed at (Luke 9:49–50); and offer to call fire from heaven on an inhospitable village (Luke 9:51–56).

This chapter proves something interesting. When Jesus is present on earth, even His own disciples don't understand Him or the kingdom of God. He had to leave so the Holy Spirit could indwell His followers and speak truth directly to our hearts (John 14:25–26; 1 Corinthians 2:6–16; Ephesians 1:13–14).
What is the Gospel?
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