Jesus was clear. He revealed the plan. The Sinless One would die, be buried, and overcome death on the third day!
“Then he began to teach them that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and rise after three days”(Mark 8:31, see also Matthew 16:21 and Luke 9:22). “He was teaching his disciples and telling them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after he is killed, he will rise three days later’ ’ (Mark 9:31, see also Matthew 17:22-23 and Luke 9:44). “Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them the things that would happen to him. ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Gentiles, and they will mock him, spit on him, flog him, and kill him, and he will rise after three days’ ” (Mark 10:32–34, see also Matthew 20:18-19 and Luke 18:31-33).
Matthew, Mark and Luke each record these three instances when Jesus clearly, explicitly, predicted His death, burial and resurrection. On the darkest of days, His followers should have been filled with expectation. They were not. Sadly, Peter, James, John, and the others, “understood none of these things. The meaning of the saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said” (Luke 18:34).
When the prophesied events occurred, the defeated and fear-filled followers witnessed the death of their Friend, their Teacher, their Master. The Roman hooligans had beaten Jesus until he was unrecognizable. They had goaded Him up the hill where they had stripped Him and savagely crucified Him, nailing Him to His cross. Naked and bleeding, He was exposed before the crowds with their taunts and jeers. The disciples watched from afar as Jesus’ life slipped away. Their dreams were soon “finished.”
Three days later, on the day following the Sabbath, the first Easter Sunday, while the disciples hid in the upper room, the faithful women struck out to complete their morbid duty. They would go to the tomb and pack the lifeless remains in embalming spices. They would say their final goodbyes, because Jesus was dead! Hopelessly dead!
Arriving at the garden tomb, the mournful ladies glimpsed the most amazing of miracles! The feeding of the five thousand, the silencing of the angry waves of Galilee, the blind that could see and the lame who could walk, these miracles paled in comparison.
On their sad pilgrimage, “they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?’ Looking up, they noticed that the stone—which was very large—had been rolled away. When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; they were alarmed. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he told them. ‘You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they put him’ ” (Mark 16:3-6).
The tomb is empty. He is not there. Jesus is alive! Alive!
With the benefit of the Bible, the inspired Word of God, the twenty-first-century church can see from “Let there be...” (Genesis 1:3) to “even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20, NKJV). The “sayings” are not hidden! God’s Word, Jesus’ revelation, the Spirit’s testimony, is proven true and the death, burial and resurrection are established, historical facts. These stand as the most important events in human history and the greatest miracle ever performed!
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.