JESUS’S PREDICTIONS OF HIS RESURRECTION
by Wayne S. Walker
Jesus Christ came into the world that He might accomplish several purposes, all of which had been planned by God before the world began. These purposes included living a perfect life as an example for us, dying for our sins upon the cross of Calvary, and being raised again from the dead as proof of His divine Sonship. The purpose of the resurrection was to produce faith in the hearts of men. In John 20:8, after Peter and the other disciple, most likely John, had gone to the empty tomb, we read, "Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed." In order to prepare His disciples for this event, Jesus had told them several times throughout His earthly ministry that He would rise again after His death. Let us look at Jesus’s predictions of His resurrection.
Early in His ministry, Jesus was challenged by the Jewish authorities to show a sign to produce authority for His cleansing of the temple (John 2:13-22). The sign that He gave them was that if they would destroy "this temple," He would raise it up in three days. Their unbelieving thoughts went immediately to the physical temple which Herod had spent forty-six years in rebuilding, but the inspired writer tells us that Jesus was speaking of the temple of His body. Thus we understand the meaning that they would kill Him and three days later He would rise. After His resurrection, His disciples remembered this prediction, but even before that so did the Jews (Matthew 26:61, 27:40).
Later, during His Galilean ministry, Jesus was again asked for a sign (Matthew 12:38-40). These people had already been privileged to see many signs, so at this point Jesus said that the only sign left for them was that of the prophet Jonah, that just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the fish’s belly, so would the Christ be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The fact that Jonah was safely returned from the whale after the three days and nights implies that Jesus would be safely returned from the heart of the earth after His three days and three nights.
Sometime after this, Jesus and His disciples went into the regions of Caesarea Philippi. He asked them who men said that He was, and they replied with the popular answers. Then, He asked them who they thought that He was, and Peter made the good confession of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God. As the conversation continued, Jesus told them what would prove His deity. "From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day" (Matthew 16:13-21).
Following this, Jesus took three of the disciples on a high mountain, perhaps Mt. Hermon which is in the vicinity of Caesarea Philippi, There He was transfigured before them, but on the way down He told them to tell no one about it until the Son of Man was risen from the dead (Matthew 17:1-9). Then, when they had returned to Galilee, He again told them, "The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up" (Matthew 17:22-23).
As Jesus began His final journey through Perea towards Jerusalem, He told the disciples once more about His resurrection. "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and the will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again." Everything that Jesus predicted came true exactly as He said, including His resurrection from the dead.
Finally, on the night of His betrayal, He said, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have been raised, I will go before you into Galilee (Matthew 26:31-32). And meet them in Galilee He did–after His resurrection (Matthew 27:7-10, 16-20). Jesus knew ahead of time, in great detail, the events surrounding His death, burial, and resurrection. He predicted that He would rise again and staked His claim to Deity upon that fact. "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father" (John 10:17-18). (—taken from With All Boldness; Sept., 2001; Vol. 11, No. 9; p. 10)