Christianity is based on the event of Jesus’ resurrection. What if Jesus predicted or foretold His resurrection before it happened? Would knowing beforehand the certainty of an event add credibility to the trustworthiness of the person making the prediction? Would witnessing the event after the event had been predicted validate or discredit the person’s believability?
In three of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), Jesus told His disciples on multiple occasions about His impending death, burial, and resurrection BEFORE it happened.
From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.
Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. As he talked about this openly with his disciples….
“The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,” he said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”
After they gathered again in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” And the disciples were filled with grief.
Leaving that region, they traveled through Galilee. Jesus didn’t want anyone to know he was there, for he wanted to spend more time with his disciples and teach them. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He will be killed, but three days later he will rise from the dead.”
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”
“Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.”
Jesus also took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain where they encountered Jesus glorified and in conversation with the resurrected Moses and Elijah (who previously died in another time in history). Moses and Elijah talked with Jesus about His death, burial, and resurrection. These three disciples (Peter, James, and John) were present listening to Jesus’ conversation about His resurrection. Then, Jesus told His disciples not to tell anyone about this conversation until after He had been raised from the dead (i.e., after Jesus’ resurrection happened).
Suddenly, two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared and began talking with Jesus. They were glorious to see. And they were speaking about his exodus from this world [Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension], which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem.
As they went back down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
As they went back down the mountain, he told them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
Jesus told His disciples about His resurrection before it happened, but did any other people know BEFORE it happened?
In the gospel of John, Jesus and His disciples were at the Temple in Jerusalem, and the religious leaders were questioning Jesus. Jesus answered their questioning by predicting that the religious leaders would destroy “the Temple” – Jesus’ body – and Jesus would rise from the dead in three days.
But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, 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 has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” But when Jesus said, “this temple,” he meant his own body.
In the gospel of Matthew, the religious leaders confirmed their knowledge of Jesus’ prediction of His resurrection before it happened. The Pharisees went to Pilate, the governing authority at the time, explained their knowledge of Jesus’ predicted resurrection, and asked for Pilate to issue guards at Jesus’ tomb. When Pilate refused to send his soldiers, the religious leaders stationed guards to secure Jesus’ tomb and to ensure no one could remove Jesus’ body without their knowledge.
The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.” Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.
Why would the religious leaders request for Pilate to secure Jesus’ tomb? Because Jesus predicted His resurrection after three days, and they admitted to Pilate that Jesus made the claim about His resurrection.
Jesus openly told His disciples about His resurrection, and the religious leaders knew about Jesus’ prediction BEFORE it happened. But why did Jesus even have to die such a horrible death in the first place, and why do Christians call that day “Good Friday?”