His Third Prediction

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death  and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

Matthew 20:17-19

In the last few posts, the scenes have taken place on the road to Jerusalem; this scene takes place in the final stages of their journey. It would probably have been a festive atmosphere on the road with the pilgrims headed for Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, as Jesus takes the disciples aside to have a serious conversation. In looking at it, please notice the stark contrast between this, and their previous discussion about rewards; ask yourself about the frame of mind of the disciples… Interestingly, the next scene is also about rewards; why is everybody thinking about their rewards?

The text doesn’t explicitly answer that question, but a safe guess would be that they still haven’t quite grasped His messianic mission in Jerusalem, for it would appear that everyone is thinking that He will go into the City, step up as the new Davidic king, and boot the Romans out, restoring Israel to its former glory… and the disciples would have the inside track to positions in the new kingdom of Israel. In our text, Jesus is trying for the third time to correct this error in their thinking.

Unlike the first two predictions of His death in 16:21 and 17:22, this time Jesus speaks in the first person, in fact, in the first person plural “we” bringing the disciples into the picture themselves. Even more ominous is His explicitness in the prediction: He will be condemned by official Jerusalem and handed over to the Gentiles, mocked, flogged and crucified; this is not at all abstract or requiring interpretation or discernment on the part of the disciples, it is as direct as it could be. They are certainly not heading into the city for a party!

Notice that once again, the prediction ends on a hopeful note, for Jesus is there to do the Father’s will, and will not be gone forever, instead being raised from the dead on the third day.

Interestingly, this time Matthew doesn’t comment on their reaction; there seems to have been an interruption…

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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9 Responses to His Third Prediction

  1. paulfg says:

    “Interestingly, the next scene is also about rewards; why is everybody thinking about their rewards?”
    I think the same with many of the current “end times” writings, papers and predictions.

  2. Steve B says:

    Isn’t life about risk & reward? Are we not Christians because we have been promised a out of this world reward, Eternal Life?

      • Steve B says:

        Nice use of the question mark Don. 🙂 Satan promises present wealth and riches although that is only available for the few and the peasants are blinded from eternal realities. When Jesus speaks the Holy Spirit gives the listeners a brief glimpse of Eternity. The religious leaders of Jesus time weighed up that present wealth and power was more valuable than the eternal in other words they didn’t want to take the risk of jeopardizing what they had. When Paul had his Damascus moment he was given a glimpse of eternity and he took the risk. When the Father spoke to me I had a very brief glimpse of eternity. When the going gets tough I look back at that moment. The thief on the cross had a brief glimpse of eternity but the other ignored it.

        If I feel like chucking all this Christian stuff away I look back and the risk of losing eternity is far greater than the present circumstances. I really think most Christians are the same in the long term so yeah that is why. 🙂

  3. Don, as always, this is really great. Informative and inspirational. Your posts are always uplifting, thought-provoking. I am a bit of an amateur apologist and I also love comparative religious studies. I feel it helps me understand the “unbelievers,” and the “other-believers,” and better equips me to respond in conversation. I am also keen on studying Islam, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Middle East. I’ve read quite a few great books, from “Captive in Iran,” to Nabeel Qureshi’s “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.” I am currently doing a weekly blog post every Friday where I cover each of Qureshi’s “16 Questions” from his second book, “Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward.” Qureshi was 13 on September 11, living in New York. His quest to understand the violence of Islam led to his conversion to Christianity and the beginning of a career as a Christian writer. I would love for you to read my first and second post on the subject and join the conversation. Here is a link to my first post on Qureshi’s book from last Friday November 3: https://theaccidentalpoet.net/2017/11/03/answering-jihad-question-1/

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