11 Then, in order to ask him, they said “Why are the scribes saying that Elijah has to come first?” 12 He said to them, “Elijah is definitely coming first to restore all things. How then can it be written about the Son of Man, that he is to go through many sufferings and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they wanted to, just like what is written about him.”
Perhaps the disciples thought that they were actually participating in the fulfilment of the Elijah prophecy. They would think that once that detail is out of the way, next Jesus could reveal himself as Messiah, and begin his reign. Jesus set them straight about that. Elijah had come, in the person of John the Baptist – not as a reincarnation, but as a forerunner. But that did not mean that the reign could happen. There was this matter of the cross that had to happen first.
Some are convinced that they can usher in the new age just by proclaiming it. But what if the next generation of Christians are not going to be known for their victory and power, but for their faithfulness in suffering and persecution? Both realities are prophesied of the church. We should be ready for either.
LORD, we do not know what this generation will experience. But we want to be faithful to you, whatever we face.