“For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.” (Mark 9:31-32)
When the Lord Jesus told His disciples about His coming death and resurrection, He could hardly have spoken more plainly, yet they “understood not.” Not willing to believe that He meant what He said (with all its uncomfortable implications for their own futures), they were “afraid to ask Him” what He meant, lest He confirm that His words should be taken literally.
This was not the only time. Again and again He told them that He would be crucified and then rise again, but they could not (or would not) understand. On one such occasion, Peter even rebuked Him, and said: “Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” But the Lord answered, “Get thee behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:22-23). A refusal to take God’s Word literally, at least in this case, was said by Christ to be inspired by Satan!
Modern evangelical Christians no longer doubt the reality of His sacrificial death and bodily resurrection, for the evidence has become overwhelming, and these truths have become the glory and power of the gospel. Nevertheless, fearful reluctance to take God’s Word literally is still a great problem among some “Bible believers.” Whenever such a stand might become costly, many Christians eagerly accept non-literal ways of “interpreting” Scripture to fit their own preferences. This approach, of course, is especially widespread in modern accommodations of the creation/Flood record of Genesis to the philosophies of modern evolutionary humanism. We should remember always that, just as in Christ’s predictions of His death and resurrection, God always means exactly what He says in His Word. HMM