In Mark 9:30-37 we see a very subtle but powerful vignette about Jesus and his disciples. It is an object lesson on intimacy and transparency. Jesus, now knowing full well that his path will lead him to a brutal and humiliating death but with the promise of resurrection, pulls his disciples away to a secret place; a place that with no distractions (he did not want anyone else to know where they were). This invitation to intimacy was not just for rest and recalibration, Jesus wanted his disciples to know something very important.
In this intimate setting, Jesus reveals – for the second time – that he would be delivered into the hands of people who would kill him. But after three days, he will rise. Again, as in the previous case with Simon Peter, the disciples were thoroughly confused. However, the interesting point is that they were afraid to ask him about it. Although Jesus was thoroughly transparent with his disciples about what was to come of him, his disciples did not reciprocate. They hid their fears and questions.
Perhaps they were afraid of how Jesus would answer them. Perhaps they were in denial that such a thing could happen to Jesus. Perhaps such news threatened their new found, idyllic existence where Jesus was popular, powerful, and they were on the ground floor of this great thing. Like the rest of us, the disciples didn’t want to face any bad news.
This was further precipitated a little while later when Jesus confronted them about an argument they had with each other on the road back to Capernaum. They had been arguing who was the greatest among them. But rather than being transparent and honest to Jesus, they kept silent. Maybe they were embarrassed at the levels of pride they had elevated themselves to. Maybe they were afraid of the answer Jesus might give them (that there was a greatest among them). But for whatever reason, they closed themselves off to Jesus.
We long for intimacy with God. We want God to reveal truths, insights, and knowledge of his will to us. We long to be loved by God. We long to see His awesome glory. But intimacy is a two-way street. As Jesus reveals himself to us, we need to reveal ourselves to him. It involves transparency on our part.
If there is something we face that we don’t understand, we need to ask him about it. If he confronts something within our lives, we need to be open about it. Because of Christ, we no longer have to hide our shame and incompleteness with fig leaves.
So how is your transparency and honesty before Jesus? Do you give Him permission to turn over some rocks in your life? Do you give access to those secret hall closets that have some skeletons from way back when? Do you really believe that His love for you is complete and safe, so that you can open these deep things to Him?
Honesty is the portal to intimacy. And intimacy with Jesus is the first step towards transformation.