Jesus Predicts His Death

Jesus Predicts His Death & Resurrection

Matthew 16: 21-22 (New Living Translation)

21 From then on Jesus (the Messiah) 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.

Matthew 20: 18-20

18 “Listen,” Jesus 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. 19 Then they will hand him over to the Romans [Gentiles] to be mocked, flogged with a whip and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”

Matthew 17: 22-23

22 After they gathered again in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. 23 He will be killed but on the third day, he will be raised from the dead.” And the disciples were filled with grief.

Have you ever wished that you could see into the future?

  • You could make a fortune predicting what would happen
  • Some people consult horoscopes or even visit clairvoyants or fortune-tellers to find out (so they claim) what will happen… bad idea!

I watched a film in which a man was given a copy of tomorrow’s newspaper by a mysterious figure…

  • He decided to look at the horse racing results and place a huge bet on the winning horse
  • But he came to realise that knowing the future meant that he could also save people from disaster … and he was torn between using his knowledge to make a fortune… or to save lives
  • In the end, he found that it was better to be poor and have a clear conscience than to be rich and suffer from guilt & shame

HG Wells’ book: “Time Machine”… was about a scientist who designed a machine that could travel forward in time! How amazing!

But knowing the future is not as wonderful as it might seem!

  • King Hezekiah was told by God that he had another 15 years to live:
  • How awful to know that your death was imminent, as the years ticked past, especially towards the end!

Knowing what the future holds may be all right if life looks rosy!

  • But what if the future doesn’t sound so attractive?
  • What if the road ahead is difficult, scary and even painful?
  • Would we still be so keen to know what lies ahead?

To be fair, some consequences can be predicted… for example, if I walk along the top of a cliff on a windy day or cross the road staring into my phone! Disaster beckons!

  • But the vast majority of the future is hidden from view and only God knows what lies ahead… unless He chooses to reveal it to us…but it’s HIS decision, not ours.

I sometimes look at a baby or young child and wonder what the future holds for him or her…

  • Doris Day sang a song that became famous called: “Whatever will be, will be!”
  • In the song, a child asks his/her mother what the future holds… “Will I be handsome? Will I be pretty? Will I be rich? She answers tenderly… Whatever will be, will be; the future’s not ours to see”

Now it’s true that we cannot know the future… but it is NOT true that “whatever will be, will be” for the simple reason that our choices & decisions are a major factor in determining our future…

  • If we make poor choices and bad decisions, our lives will go in a totally different direction from making good choices and sensible decisions

Parents and grandparents may offer advice to a younger person based on their experience of life…

  • But whether or not the younger person chooses to accept the advice and act upon it is quite another matter!
  • Example of King Rehoboam (son of King Solomon)… He took the advice of his young friends rather than the wise advice of the older men…with disastrous results!
  • However, younger people may helpfully advise an older person… wisdom does not reside solely in older people!

So life is full of choices that affect the future! And sometimes, it’s hard to know which path to choose {More in a moment}

So what about Jesus?

  • What did He know about His future? What decisions did He make?
  • How would you evaluate His choices?
  1. First, Jesus knew that He would suffer & die and told His disciples so on numerous occasions, though they found it difficult to grasp…
  2. He knew that He would carry the sins of the world in His body…
  3. He knew that He would be raised on the third day and said so
  4. Despite knowing what He had to face, Jesus still went to the cross and died for our sins

I once spoke to the officiating minister after a wedding, who claimed that going to the cross “wasn’t any big deal”, as Jesus knew that He would be resurrected… How naïve! How appalling!

  • I find it hard enough to carry my own guilt!
  • Imagine carrying the sins of the whole world?

We also find it difficult to face ridicule and rejection

  • Imagine what it was like for Jesus after all He had done for the poor & needy and marginalised in society?

But Jesus’ death was an integral part of God’s plan of salvation for the world… He wasn’t just a Messiah for the Jewish people

  • And His resurrection showed that the power of God is greater even than death itself

So what about you and I?

  • How do you “see” your future?
  • What really matters to you and to me about “now” and “tomorrow”? What do you want God to do with you & for you?

Some people tell me that they are too old to have ambitions… or they quietly plod along without any expectation that God will do anything special in what remains of their lives

And what of younger people with life stretching before them?

Whatever our age or state of health or circumstances, God wants us to trust Him for the future and have high expectations of what He will do with us and through us IF we submit to His will … that’s the challenge facing each one of us.

I said earlier that we cannot predict the future…but that’s only partly true!

  1. In fact, we can predict certain things when we choose to believe in and follow Jesus Christ… or not!

(1) We need not fear the future during this life because God is in ultimate control… The more we yield to Him, the more He takes control

(2) Our eternal future (after we die) is guaranteed in heaven.

A wonderful prospect! But without Jesus, our prospects are grim!

How did Jesus always know the will of God?

  • Because He lived so close to the Father… and God the Father lived so close to Him… like co-joined twins!

How can WE know God’s will? In exactly the same way…

We have to learn to walk in step with God & seek His will:

  • When we do, we can relax about the present and the future
  • It’s when we are not walking in step with God that decisions become tricky and the future is uncertain!

Will we get every decision right?

  • Perhaps not… but if we truly seek to do what God wants us to do, we won’t go far wrong!
  • Like a “sat nav” corrects our mistake if we take a wrong turn, so the Holy Spirit will adjust our lives to get us back on track

The resurrection of Jesus was a miracle… but there’s a greater miracle

  1. It’s the miracle of lives being transformed by the power of the Gospel… Lives that were hopeless gain hope for the future
  • Lives that were going nowhere gain purpose
  • Lives that were chaotic and broken become stable and healed
  • Lives that were uncaring become gracious and loving

Does your life and mine need a “resurrection”?

  • Have we become a bit casual about the things of God?
  • Are we drifting instead of living a purposeful and effective life in the certain knowledge that because of the resurrection, our present & future is secure?

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