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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Did Jesus Predict His Own Resurrection?

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Don Stewart

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

He Made Many Predictions

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.

So the Jews answered and said to him, 'What sign do you show to us, since you do these things?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' Then the Jews said, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?' But he was speaking of the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken (John 2:18-22).

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.

An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:39-40).

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.

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 again the third day (Matthew 16:21).

Jesus Had The Ability To Raise Himself

Jesus also made the amazing claim that He had the authority to accomplish the resurrection Himself.

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 authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it again (John 10:17, 18).

Jesus' Predictions Were Common Knowledge

The predictions by Jesus of His resurrection were of such common knowledge that it led the religious rulers to ask Pontius Pilate to secure the tomb.

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." Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, "He has risen from the dead." So the last deception will be worse than the first' (Matthew 27:62-64).

Therefore it is clear that Jesus predicted His resurrection ahead of time. Summary

Jesus predicted his own resurrection. The first time we find him speaking about being raised from the dead was at the beginning of his ministry. When asked for a sign he gave them the sign of the temple - which was figurative for his body. On another occasion, when asked for a sign, he 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. He also privately told his disciples the details about his death and resurrection. Jesus made public statements about his resurrection. This caused the religious leaders to request a guard at his tomb. There would be no need for a guard unless he had predicted that he would come back from the dead. Therefore the evidence is clear - Jesus predicted his resurrection.

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