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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ

Don Stewart :: Did Jesus Make Predictions That Have Come True during His Lifetime?

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Did Jesus Make Predictions That Have Come True during His Lifetime?

The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ – Question 19

Jesus Christ personally fulfilled prophecies from the Old Testament in His own life and ministry. Yet He did much more than this. Indeed, He Himself predicted events that were to come to pass at some time in the future. Thus, one of the ministries of Jesus was that of a prophet; He was a spokesman for the God of the Bible. The following observations need to be made about Jesus’ prophetic ministry.

There Are Prophecies of Jesus That Have Been Fulfilled in His Lifetime

One of the marks of a true prophet of God is that he or she must make predictions which can be fulfilled in their own lifetime. This way the people would know whether or not that person had the prophetic gift. We read,

You may say to yourself, ‘How can we recognize a message the LORD has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the LORD’s name, and the message does not come true or is not fulfilled, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:21-22 HCSB)

Jesus qualified. We are going to look at a number of specific predictions that Jesus made as well as their fulfillment. Each of these occurred during His lifetime.

Prediction 1: He Will Be Betrayed by One of His Disciples: Judas Iscariot

To begin with, we find that Jesus predicted that He would be betrayed by one of His own disciples. Matthew record Jesus making this prediction during the Last Supper:

While they were eating, He said, “I assure you: One of you will betray Me.” Deeply distressed, each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” (Matthew 26:21, 22 HCSB)

This prediction involves a number of factors. First, He will be betrayed. Second, it will be by someone who is one of His own disciples.

In addition, Jesus predicted which of the Twelve would betray Him, Judas Iscariot. John records what took place:

After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table close to Jesus, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” (John 13:21-27 ESV)

This prediction was indeed literally fulfilled by Judas Iscariot. Luke records what happened:

But even as he said this, a mob approached, led by Judas, one of his twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus and greeted him with a kiss. But Jesus said, “Judas, how can you betray me, the Son of Man, with a kiss?” (Luke 22:47, 48 NLT)

As Jesus predicted, one of His own disciples, Judas Iscariot, betrayed Him.

Prediction 2: All of His Disciples Would Leave Him at His Betrayal

Jesus also predicted that all His disciples would leave Him when He was betrayed. He said,

“Tonight all of you will desert me,” Jesus told them. “For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.” (Matthew 26:31, 32 NLT)

Notice that Jesus said that “all” of them would abandon Him. If one of them stayed behind, the prophecy would not have been fulfilled.

This prediction was literally fulfilled when Jesus was arrested. Matthew records what took place:

But all this has happened so that the prophetic Scriptures would be fulfilled. Then all the disciples deserted Him and ran away. (Matthew 26:56 HCSB)

None of them remained with Him. Again, the words of Jesus are fulfilled.

Prediction 3: Peter Would Deny Him Three Times That Very Night

Jesus also predicted that on three different occasions, Peter would deny knowing Him. Furthermore, Jesus said that this would take place that very night. Matthew records Jesus’ prediction:

Peter told Him, “Even if everyone runs away because of You, I will never run away!” “I assure you,” Jesus said to him, “tonight—before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times!” (Matthew 26:33, 34 HCSB)

While Peter predicted that he would never leave Jesus we find that Jesus made a different prediction. That very night he would deny knowing His Lord.

As Jesus had predicted, this was literally fulfilled. Matthew records the fulfillment:

Peter began to curse and swear, “I don’t know that man!” Right then a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered that Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will say three times that you don’t know me.” Then Peter went out and cried hard. (Matthew 26:74, 75 CEV)

That same night, Peter denied knowing His Lord. When he realized what he had done, Peter cried intensely.

Prediction 4: He Would Suffer Because of the Religious Rulers

Jesus said that He would suffer as a result of the religious rulers. This prediction was first given while on the way to Jerusalem:

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 16:21 NKJV)

Again we have a specific prophecy. His suffering would take place at the hands of the religious rulers.

On the night of His arrest, the religious rulers allowed Him to be beaten by those who were guarding Him:

The men who were guarding Jesus made fun of him and beat him. They put a blindfold on him and said, “Tell us who struck you!” They kept on insulting Jesus in many other ways. (Luke 22:63-65 CEV)

These cowards humiliated Jesus just as He had predicted.

Prediction 5: He Would Die in the City of Jerusalem

Although a number of attempts had been made on His life outside of the city of Jerusalem, Jesus predicted that His death must take place there and there alone. Matthew records the specific prophecy which Jesus gave:

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. (Matthew 16:21 NIV)

Jerusalem was the only place where our Lord would meet His death.

And Jesus died in the city of Jerusalem just as He predicted. The Bible makes this clear:

Some women were looking on from a distance. They had come with Jesus to Jerusalem. But even before this they had been his followers and had helped him while he was in Galilee. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joseph were two of these women. Salome was also one of them. (Mark 15:40, 41 CEV)

Though there were a number of attempts to kill Him before this time, Hs death was to be in the predicted place, Jerusalem.

Prediction 6: He Would Die by Means of Crucifixion

Jesus predicted the exact manner of His death—crucifixion. We read,

When Jesus had finished teaching, he told his disciples, “You know that two days from now will be Passover. That is when the Son of Man will be handed over to his enemies and nailed to a cross”. (Matthew 26:1-2 CEV)

This was the manner of death by which Jesus predicted that He would die.

Jesus died by crucifixion as He predicted. Mark writes,

The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. (Mark 15:26, 27 NRSV)

Jesus died in the manner in which He had predicted.

Prediction 7: He Would Die during the Passover

Jesus also predicted His death would occur during the Passover celebration. He said,

You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified. (Matthew 26:2 NRSV)

If His death took place at any other time then Jesus would have been a false prophet.

However, as He predicted His death took place at the Passover. We read about this in John’s gospel:

It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. (John 19:14-16 NIV)

The exact time of crucifixion was predicted and fulfilled by the Lord Jesus.

Prediction 8: His Resurrection from the Dead on the Third Day

Jesus also predicted His resurrection from the dead. He said it would happen exactly three days after His death. We read this prediction in the early chapters of John’s gospel:

“What right do you have to do these things?” the Jewish leaders demanded. “If you have this authority from God, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.” “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” “What!” they exclaimed. “It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can do it in three days?” But by “this temple,” Jesus meant his body. After he was raised from the dead, the disciples remembered that he had said this. And they believed both Jesus and the Scriptures. (John 2:18-22 NLT)

This prediction occurred some three years before the event took place.

Jesus again predicted His resurrection as He drew near to the city of Jerusalem:

From then on, Jesus began telling his disciples what would happen to him. He said, “I must go to Jerusalem. There the nation’s leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make me suffer terribly. I will be killed, but three days later I will rise to life.” (Matthew 16:21 CEV)

Jesus repeated this prediction again and again.

After Jesus’ crucifixion, the people remembered Jesus’ prophecy:

On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’” (Matthew 27:62, 63 NKJV)

The chief priests, and the teachers of the Law, were the ones who arrested Jesus and brought Him to Pilate for execution. They remembered that He predicted His resurrection. Yet three days after His crucifixion, Jesus was alive again as He had predicted. The angel at His tomb on that first Easter made it clear to those who arrived:

He isn’t here! He has been raised from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. (Matthew 28:6 NLT)

Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and came back from the dead on Easter Sunday morning—three days by Jewish reckoning. Again, His predictions were literally fulfilled.

Jesus Qualified as a Prophet

These predictions, as well as their fulfillment, testify that Jesus Christ had the ability to accurately predict the future. Indeed, we find many things which He predicted were accurately fulfilled during His lifetime. This left no doubt in the minds of the people that Jesus of Nazareth was a true prophet of God.

Summary – Question 19
Did Jesus Make Predictions That Have Come True during His Lifetime?

We find that Jesus Christ not only fulfilled prophecy in His own life, He also made predictions that have been miraculously fulfilled. This is important to realize for a true prophet of God must make predictions which were fulfilled in their own lifetimes. In doing so, the people would realize that this person had been sent from God. Jesus certainly met these qualifications.

Indeed, there are at least eight major predictions that Jesus made during His public ministry which have been fulfilled exactly as they were given. They include the following.

First, Jesus said that He would be betrayed. This betrayal would happen by one of His own disciples, Judas Iscariot. Thus, there are three elements in this prediction; betrayal, betrayal by one of His own, and Judas would be that betrayer.

This was literally fulfilled when Judas Iscariot handed Jesus over to the religious rulers in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Second, Jesus also said that all of the disciples would leave Him at His betrayal. He would be left alone. Again, we find this prediction literally fulfilled when He was betrayed.

Jesus told Simon Peter that would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed. Thus, we have the prediction that Peter would deny Jesus that very night. We find that this took place exactly as Jesus has predicted.

Jesus also predicted He would suffer because of the religious rulers. The gospels record that this prediction was also fulfilled.

On a number of occasions He predicted His death would occur in the city of Jerusalem. While attempts were made on His life outside of Jerusalem, Jesus, as predicted, died in Jerusalem.

Jesus said that He would die by means of crucifixion. Again, while there were attempts to stone Him or throw Him off of a cliff these attempts failed. As predicted, Jesus died in the city of Jerusalem by means of crucifixion.

His death would occur during the feast of the Passover. This is another specific prediction. It would take place during the time of the Passover celebration. As is true with the other predictions, this was literally fulfilled.

Death would not hold Him for Jesus predicted that He would be raised from the dead. Furthermore, His resurrection would occur the third day after His death. Again, this prediction was literally fulfilled.

These predictions, along with their fulfillments in His own lifetime, make it clear that Jesus qualified as a true prophet of God. This being the case, the people could believe everything else which He said.

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