For all appearances, things were going very well for Jesus in those scant days between Palm Sunday and Good Friday. The adoring crowds, silenced religious leaders tucked back into their rightful hole with Christ's perfect logic. So when the disciples started a discussion about the future with their leader, they must have been hoping for tales of conquest and glory (Luke 21: 5-24). Certainly they had no inkling of the dread that would settle upon them when Jesus answered their questions: wars, revolutions, famines, pestilences, persecution, betrayal, hatred and death. Not a bedtime story for the faint of heart.
I wonder if His mother, Mary, was there? Did she remember a similar warning given her some thirty-three years earlier? When her babe was a mere eight days old, a stranger named Simeon spoke similar words to her. "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul, too." (Luke 2:34-35)
God did not hide or deceive the earthly mother of His son. Amid the joy of the birth came the truth of the future - a warning of the cost of the future. The true cost of Christmas.