Did Christ Predict His Own Death?
Christ did predict His own death and the events that followed so that when it does take place His followers may believe (John 14:29). Christ knew that the events of the immediate future would fill the disciples with great bewilderment, as would the tests they would face in their later evangelism. Hence, He tried to forewarn them, that they might be ready for it. “Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He” (John 13:19).
After feeding the multitudes, Christ predicted His death saying, “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. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew 16:21-23 also Mark 8:31–32, and Luke 9:21–22).
And after the Transfiguration, Christ also predicted His death to His disciples. He said, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful” (Matthew 17:22-23 also Mark 9:30–32, and Luke 9:43–45).
On His way to Jerusalem, Christ took the twelve disciples aside on the road and again predicted His death saying, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again” (Matthew 20:17–19, also Mark 10:32–34, and Luke 18:31–34 ).
Besides the direct predictions, there were other indirect statements that Christ gave which pointed to His death such as the following passages:
When Mary anointed Jesus with the expensive perfume and Judas commented that this money should have been given to the poor, Christ said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me” (John 12:7–8).
In another occasion, Christ insinuated that His ministry was about to end when He said, “Where I am going you cannot come” (John 13:33).
Again, He hinted of His departure from this world to the disciples when He said, “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more” (John 14:1). And He added, ‘I am going to the Father” (John 14:28).
The Disciples Failed to Understand
Unfortunately, the disciples “understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken” (Luke 18:34). They didn’t understand because their minds were filled with misconceptions regarding the nature of the kingdom Christ came to set. They seemingly dismissed from their minds whatever did not agree with their preconceived opinions on the matter. They hoped and wished that something would take place that would make His death unnecessary. How different their lives would have been if they had believed the words of their Master and acted upon them.
After the Ascension of Christ, the disciples remembered His predictions of His death and their faith was strengthened. The fulfillment of prophecy is the stamp of validation upon the one saying the prediction. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they spread the gospel to all the world.
In His service,