In Luke 9:45 it says that it was "hidden from them". Who concealed it? Jesus was asking them to listen, pay attention... who was working against Jesus?
We look at these wonderful stories with hind-sight which the disciples did not have. They expected a Messiah something like a political strong-man to free them from the Roman yoke! Jesus was not interested in such political concerns and power struggles. Jesus said this to Pilate:
- John 18:36 - Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world; if it were, My servants would fight to prevent My arrest by the Jews. But now, My kingdom is not of this realm.”
(In fact, Peter had tried to fight as he was armed with a sword in the garden of Gethsemane only a few hours before, but Jesus prevented the fighting from continuing and the disciples fled in fear.)
On another occasion, Jesus had told His disciples:
- Luke 22:27 - For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines? But I am among you as one who serves.
The disciples had heard Jesus' several parables about the spiritual nature of the "Kingdom of God/Heaven" (eg, Matt 13, Mark 4, Luke 13). They had also heard Jesus say:
- Luke 17:20, 21 - “The kingdom of God will not come with observable signs. Nor will people say, ‘Look, here it is,’ or ‘There it is.’ For you see, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
Even in Jesus' great sermon on the mount (Matt 5-7) that opens with the beatitudes, where Jesus mentions the "Kingdom of Heaven" (Matt 5:3, 10, 19, 20, 7:21) all saying that it was NOT an earthly kingdom, the disciples misunderstood. Jesus was sympathetic to their plight (it is a difficult thing to change a deeply held mind-set):
- John 16:12 - I still have much to tell you, but you cannot yet bear to hear it.
Even after the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples were still fixated on an earthly kingdom when they asked (only moments before His ascension!!) -
- Acts 1:6 - So when they came together, they asked Him, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
Given this mind-set, it is little wonder that they struggled to understand what Jesus was saying in Luke 9:43, 44, just after doing remarable miracles worthy of a great earthly leader.
- And they were all astonished at the greatness of God. While everyone was marvelling at all that Jesus was doing, He said to His disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”
Such a thing, for their great hope and Messiah to be delivered to men was unthinkable. No wonder they did not understand. As the Pulpit commentary on Luke 1:45 observes:
And they feared to ask him of that saying. The "saying" was to them so utterly distasteful, perhaps inconceivable. It is possible that they thought this betrayal and death simply veiled for them some bit of teaching to be explained hereafter; it is possible they at once dismissed it from their minds, as men often do painful and mournful forebodings. At all events, they dreaded asking him any questions about this dark future of suffering which he said lay before him.
I will answer it from a psychological instead spiritual perspective.
The disciples have witnessed Jesus performing all sorts of incredible signs and wonders. Then in Luke 9
21 Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 22 And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Later, Jesus predicts his death a second time again in Luke 9
43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, 44“Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” 45 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.
They are all excited with all the positive vibes of the mighty Jesus. They don't want to know the bad news that He is going to die. It's a psychological blind spot with the fear factor. It is a form of self deception/protection. They hear the words but do not want to think about it. Maybe then it will go away. It's due to subconscious psychological fear.
Matthew 13 (KJV) records this:
10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
...13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
...16But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
Jesus used parables to challenge the comprehension of his disciples. In Matthew 13 Jesus related a number of parables to the crowd, the Parable of: the Sower, the Tares, the Mustard Seed, and the Leaven. He only explained one of them in the presence of the crowd, and likely would not have bothered explaining the others at all, except that:
36... his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
The desire of Jesus' disciples to want to understand his teaching is what distinguished them from the crowds, and was the reason "the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" were given to them.
Surely, all knowledge is given unto to those who humbly inquire, and will remain hidden from those who don't.
Q: Who was preventing Jesus’s statement from being understood? Luke 9:45
NET Note Says: The passive verb had been concealed probably indicates that some force was preventing them from responding. It is debated whether God (Robertson) or Satan is meant here. By Lk 24:25 it is clear that their lack of response is their own responsibility.
1. Did God prevent them?
Jesus selected the twelve disciples after all-night prayers on the mountain that “they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach” (Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16). And, for three and half years, Jesus devoted to the training of them for the great commission, and disciples had a privilege of seeing what they saw and what they heard ( Lk. 10:23-24; Matt. 13:16), for it was Father’s will to reveal the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven to disciples (Mt. 11:25-26). Therefore, the divine purpose view has no Scriptural support.
2. What was the force?
First, it is observable from the related texts that disciples were in fear and distressed, even paranoid about the perspective of their Master would suffer and die. Jesus began teaching them about His Passion and Resurrection (Mt. 16:21; Mk. 8:31-33) only after the disciples confessed that Jesus is the Messiah, as Peter voiced for the twelve (Matt. 16:16). And the first response of Peter and rest disciples was a vehement objection as recorded in Matthew 16:22:
“And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”
In due course, however, they appeared to comprehend the suffering of the Messiah. Since then, Jesus has spoken more times on the same subject, yet no more objections of the same nature registered in the Gospel (Matt. 17:22-23; 20:17-19 and Jn. 8:27-30, 12:7-8; 12:23;14:25-31).
Instead, Scripture records, now disciples were fearful and distressed (Matt. 17:22); they did not understand ( ἠγνόουν)(Mk. 9:32), or rather they did not want to know; they were afraid to ask (Lk. 9:45) all of which show they dreaded to hear the terrible words.
They even expressed a fear of going near to Jerusalem. When Jesus wanted to go to Bethany (1.72 miles from Jerusalem) to raise dead Lazarus, Thomas said, “let us also go that we may die with Him (Jn. 11:16). (Here, “Him” refers Jesus, for Jesus is going there to raise Lazarus). They closed their ears to hear, and minds to accepting the dreadful reality.
On the Eve of His Passion, Jesus uses words of comforting and said, do not to be troubled nor be afraid (Jn. 14:1,27) for He will see them again and their heart will rejoice again” (Jn. 16:2-23). Yet, Jesus perceived the fear was still playing their minds, and so said He:
In V 44: “.. Let these words sink (Θέσθε) into your ears! - Θέσθε, an emphatic imperative denoting to set aside the objection they have.
Second, the clues in the text show that they were to be blamed for their ignorance:
In verse 45, ἠγνόουν (ignorant) -indicative, imperfect, active- is a descriptive word that shows they ignored and did not believe the ῥῆμα (v. 45) of Jesus all along. And μὴ αἴσθωνται (not they should perceive) implies a subjective intention of the will and thought. μὴ -subjective rejection, and αἴσθωνται -subj, aor, middle voice, where the middle voice signifies the subject is both the cause and focus of the action -e.g. I moved (myself).
In short, disciples have let fear play their “ear and mind” and did nothing to prevent or reverse.
Third, Jesus says, fear is of the lack of faith. In Mark 4:40, after Jesus calms the storm, He said to disciples:
“Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Disciples have become captives of fear and been incapacitated by being caught in the vicious circle of fear and disbelief. And they had fallen prey into the hand of the devil and disowned and deserted their Master and the Anointed One to who they had the pledge of loyalty even to death.
Fear, unbelief, disbelief, and doubt are all related and can blind our mind. If not reversed, it will make an inroad for the adversary into our mind to play.
Devil cannot force children of God into sinning without their consent -i.e. Fall of adam and Eve.
The Scripture says, children of God must resist the devil (James 4:7), and put on the full armor of God (notice, all relate to the Word of God), especially, the sword of Holy spirit, the ῥῆμα of God.
Romans 1:17 says, "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” And, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word (ῥῆμα) of Christ (10:17)
A live fish swim upstream, so does a live Christian. God will not and does not swim for His children.
Simply put, the disciples did not understand Jesus as “the lamb” that was to be slaughtered for the sins of man. Rather, they looked to Him as one who was (finally) going to free them from the oppression of the Roman Empire (and possibly also from the corruption of Jewish authorities). What is “blinding” the disciples is the misunderstanding/ignorance of his mission, something that still lingers on to this day.