At Caesarea Philippi, Peter made his famous declaration, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16, NKJV). In response, Jesus announced, “on this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). The foundation of the unassailable church of God is the doctrine of the supremacy of Jesus, the son of David, the One who rules an everlasting kingdom. Jesus, the never-created Son of God, alive in parallel humanity and divinity, promised to establish His church and eternally empower it.
On the heels of that discussion, Jesus “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).
The chronology of these events is affirmed by both Matthew (16:13-26) and Luke (9:18-25). First came the confession of faith, then the prediction concerning rejection, crucifixion, and resurrection.
It wasn’t long after this interaction that Jesus invited Peter, James, and John, His most-trusted inner-circle, to go “up a high mountain by themselves to be alone” (Mark 9:2). In their presence, Jesus was transformed, “transfigured” (Mark 9:2). “As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white” (Luke 9:29). Stunningly, Elijah and Moses, two Old Testament characters materialized, and “a cloud appeared, overshadowing them, and a voice came from the cloud: ‘This is my beloved Son; listen to him!’ ” (Mark 9:7).
After returning from the mountain-top experience, Jesus continued “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.’ But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask him” (Mark 9:31–32).
Once again, the other Synoptics agree with the timeline. First the transfiguration and then the second prophetic promise of His sacrificial death at the hands of evil men (Matthew 17:1-23; Luke 9:28-45).
The third and final prediction comes on the road to Jerusalem. While the disciples were oblivious, Jesus was fully aware that ahead lay the cruelty of Calvary followed by the victorious and glorious resurrection. “They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus … 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).
Here too, Matthew and Luke agree with the sequence (Matthew 20:17-19; Luke 18:31-33) further illustrating the Bible’s truthfulness and accuracy. Three time, the Synoptics record the predictions of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Three times.
Though John’s Gospel takes a different approach, he too records the forecast of the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29) slain as the substitutionary sacrifice, the “Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep” (John 10:11), the One “lifted up” (John 3:14) upon a cross, freely given as the price of our atonement.
Clearly, Jesus knew what was about to happen. In eternity-past, it must have been determined that Jesus, the sinless Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, would come to earth to be mocked, spit upon, and killed, to pay the cost of my redemption… and yours!