The picture here is startling. Imagine the scene. Jesus walking ahead of his followers, as was Rabbinic custom. Determinedly striding forwards towards the holy city and the fate that awaited him there. His disciples and others following in his wake with less than enthusiasm in light of earlier warnings about what was to happen in Jerusalem. Jesus, takes the 12 aside and hardly allays their fears with a third prophecy concerning his death – this time in the form of a few stark, brutal, and perplexing words about the Son of Man (his favourite form of self-designation).
The reference to mocking and spitting likely links back to Ps 22 and Is 50:6 where the righteous sufferer is treated contemptously, scourged and beaten. Added here is the reference to the dual roles of the Jewish leaders and the Gentiles in the killing of the Son of Man. Nothing is said of how he will die. The followers are right to be afraid. Jesus is leading them straight into a maelstrom of conflict, violence and death.
Yet, 6 words offer hope (even if an uncomprehending one) – ‘Three days later he will rise’
Jesus Again Predicts His Death
32They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33“We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”