A necessary rejection
Stop me if you've heard this before:
He began to teach them that the Son of Man
must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests,
and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days.
What stuck out for me yesterday at Mass was the middle bit, "that the Son of Man must... be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes."
That Jesus would be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, sure; that's telegraphed way back in Chapter 2. But He could have suffered greatly, and be killed, and rise after three days without being rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes. Why "must" they reject Him?
I don't know.
But I have a thought:
Man had never really understood the relationship between God and man. Adam and Eve gambled on becoming like gods; the builders at Babel thought they could literally reach heaven on their own; the Israelites felt they needed a golden calf, and wearied the LORD with their grumbling, and much later thought a king would be just the thing. By Jesus' day, the LORD's people had the Law wrapped so tightly with legalisms, the simple observations that loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength was the greatest commandment was taken as a sign of great wisdom.
And so, although Jesus' death and resurrection were the fulfillment of the Scriptures, maybe it could be said that He "must" fulfill them in a way men -- even, perhaps especially, those men to whom the Scriptures were entrusted -- did not anticipate and would not, on their own, accept. His obedience to the Father was perfect reparation for Adam's disobedience, and maybe that perfect obedience needed to be chosen in direct opposition to the chronic human choice to prescribe who God is and proscribe what He does.