The Shadow of the Cross
He began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer, ... be rejected, ... be killed and after three days rise again — Mark 8:31
Peter had made a noble confession of his faith in Christ as the promised Messiah, and now Jesus tells him what that Messiahship meant, and how He was to fulfil His mission. It was not as the disciples expected. They were looking for His manifestation as an earthly king. But He tells them that the way to His throne was through suffering and by the cross.
It is to be noticed that while the way He marked out lay through darkness and sorrow, at the end there would be glory, — “after three days rise again.” Thus there was to be no failure in His mission. An apostle said to believers in Christ: “Ye must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of heaven.” The tribulation was hard, but they would go through it; and beyond was the kingdom of heaven. In the Twenty-third Psalm there is a verse often quoted: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow.” In these words there is a suggestion of gloom — but the writer is going through it; then comes “the house of the Lord forever.” So here the dying of the Saviour seemed to be failure; but the rising again meant glory, victory, and eternal blessedness. He was simply going through death, as the appointed way to His throne.
This quiet announcement by our Lord of what was in store for Him reminds us of an element of sorrow in Christ’s life from which we are mercifully spared. He knew before hand every inch of His path of woe. The shadow of His cross lay upon His soul through all the years. We sometimes rashly say that we wish we could see our future; but really it is a most gracious provision of our own life that we cannot see an hour before us. To know the future would only darken the present and unfit us for duty. It is far better that it is hidden..