All of this week’s first readings have had connections to the book of Revelations. That connection continues today with the prophecy of Zechariah who had a vision much like that of John.
Zechariah saw a man, who was an angel, with a measuring line and Zechariah asked the man, “Where are you going?” The man replied, “To measure Jerusalem, to see how great is its width and how great its length.” This is what John sees in Revelations 21:15-17 where the New Jerusalem is described as a perfect cube (a symbol of perfection.)
Then another angel appeared and said, “Run, tell this to that young man: People will live in Jerusalem as though in open country, because of the multitude of men and beasts in their midst.” The second angel was talking about the people who will enter the New Jerusalem. The men and beasts are demons and their followers who, with their temptations, are determined to destroy us through sin.
The second angel told Zechariah that the LORD said that He will be an encircling wall of fire and the glory in her (the New Jerusalem) midst. The LORD also said that He will come to dwell among the people and that many nations will join together on that day. We see the coming together of people from every nation in Revelations 7:9. God dwelling among the human race is in Revelations 21:3.
For someone who is unfamiliar with the book of Revelations, this scripture would be interpreted as a prophecy about the coming of Christ to be with us on earth. When Zechariah had this vision, Christ was yet to come and there was no book of Revelations. Therefore, based on what the people knew at that time, concluding that this was a prophecy of the coming of the Messiah was correct.
This prophecy does point to the coming of the Messiah. But the similarities between the visions of Zechariah and John cannot be overlooked, especially when we consider Zechariah’s telling us that an angel came to measure Jerusalem and, “Many nations shall join themselves together to the LORD on that day.” That day is the last day as well as the day that Christ was born.
When Zechariah made this prophecy, the world was being told to get ready for the coming of the Messiah. For us, we are being told to get ready for the second coming of Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven.
The disciples were amazed and Jesus said, “Pay attention to what I am telling you.” In yesterday’s gospel, Jesus said, “Get behind me Satin” to the disciples because they were thinking like humans. During the time between the two gospels, Jesus drove a demon out of a boy. The disciples had tried to drive the demon out but were unable and Jesus said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you and endure you?” Luke 9:41
So, without a doubt, Jesus is frustrated with the disciples. Jesus demonstrated the same kind of frustration that a parent or a teacher has when they tell their children or students to pay attention! The common message in yesterday’s readings was: Do not listen to what man says; pay attention to God. Jesus wanted the disciples to stop being distracted by what is wrong and unimportant and focus on their mission.
Then Jesus said, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” The disciples did not understand because the meaning was hidden from them and they were afraid to ask. Can you remember being scolded as a child for not paying attention? Can you remember being told something else right after you were scolded that you did not understand but were too afraid to ask because you did not want to be scolded again? That was the disciples at that moment but there was a big difference.
The disciples did not understand because the meaning was hidden from them. Christ did not want them to understand because they were not ready. Their faith, although it was strong, was not yet strong enough.
If we were the disciples with Jesus that day, would we have been scolded? Would we have understood the second prediction to the Passion? Sometimes, we need to be reminded that if we want our faith to grow, we have to pay attention to our faith and the One who gives it to us.