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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Don Stewart :: Did Jesus Predict His Own Resurrection?

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Did Jesus Predict His Own Resurrection?

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Question 2

Yes. Jesus predicted the resurrection beforehand. The fact that He would rise from the dead was central to Jesus’ ministry and message. Thus, the resurrection must not be seen as an isolated event in the life of Jesus Christ.

1. He Predicted His Resurrection Many Times

As one reads the four gospels, they are struck by the fact that Jesus predicted, over and over again, His betrayal, death, and resurrection. Three years before He was raised from the dead, the following exchange between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders occurred. John records what happened:

The Jews reacted by asking Jesus, “What miracle can you show us to justify what you’re doing?” Jesus replied, “Tear down this temple, and I’ll rebuild it in three days.” The Jews said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple. Do you really think you’re going to rebuild it in three days?” But the temple Jesus spoke about was his own body. After he came back to life, his disciples remembered that he had said this. So they believed the Scripture and this statement that Jesus had made. (John 2:18-22 God’s Word)

Jesus knew that He would be raised from the dead at this early point in His earthly ministry. Therefore, He could predict that this would eventually take place.

2. The Resurrection Was “the” Sign

The resurrection was to be the sign that demonstrated Jesus as the one whom He claimed to be. When asked for a specific sign from the religious leaders Jesus said,

But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:39-40 NKJV)

According to Jesus, His resurrection from the dead would be the sign which proved that He was the Promised Messiah as He claimed.

Especially during the last six months of His earthly life, Jesus emphasized the importance and necessity of His upcoming crucifixion as well as the triumph of His resurrection. We read the following in Matthew:

From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that he had to go to Jerusalem, and he told them what would happen to him there. He would suffer at the hands of the leaders and the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, and he would be raised on the third day. (Matthew 16:21 NLT)

Again, this would be “the” sign that showed He was the One whom He claimed to be.

3. Jesus Had the Ability to Raise Himself

Jesus Christ also made the amazing claim that He had the authority to accomplish the resurrection Himself! John records Him saying,

The Father loves me, because I give up my life, so that I may receive it back again. No one takes my life from me. I give it up willingly! I have the power to give it up and the power to receive it back again, just as my Father commanded me to do. (John 10:17, 18 CEV)

He claimed authority to raise Himself from the dead.

4. Jesus’ Predictions Were Common Knowledge

The predictions by Jesus Christ of His resurrection were of such common knowledge that it led the religious rulers to ask Pontius Pilate to secure the tomb. Matthew records the following took place the day after Jesus’ death:

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” (Matthew 27:62-64 NRSV)

Therefore it is clear that Jesus Christ predicted His resurrection ahead of time. Otherwise, it would make no sense to secure and guard the tomb in which He was buried.

Summary – Question 2
Did Jesus Predict His Own Resurrection?

Jesus Christ did indeed predict His own resurrection from the dead. This can be seen in a number of different ways. The first time we find Jesus speaking about being raised from the dead was at the beginning of His public ministry. When asked for a sign, He gave them the sign of the temple—which was figurative for His body. Jesus said that if it were destroyed it would be raised up in three days. This was a prediction of His resurrection.

On another occasion, when asked for a sign, Jesus gave them the sign of Jonah. As Jonah was three days in the belly of the sea creature so Jesus will be three days in the earth. Again, we find a prediction of His resurrection.

Jesus also claimed that He personally possessed the authority to raise Himself from the dead. This was indeed an amazing claim!

In still another instance, Jesus privately told His disciples the details about His death and resurrection. Jesus thus made both public and private statements about His resurrection from the dead three days after His predicted death. This fact caused the religious leaders to request a guard at His tomb. Indeed, there would be no need for a guard unless Jesus had predicted that He would come back from the dead. Therefore, the evidence is clear—Jesus Christ predicted own His resurrection.

How Important Is the Resurrection to Christianity? ← Prior Section
What Precautions Were Taken to Keep the Tomb of Jesus Secure? Next Section →
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