The Prophecy Of The Resurrection

Jesus began to show 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 up on the third day.
–Matthew 16:21

The Bible is filled with thousands of specific prophecies that have been fulfilled. Most of these prophecies have to do with the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. For example:

  • 2,000 years before His birth, Scripture foretold He would be born of the family of Abraham.
  • 700 years ahead of time, the Bible prophesied that He was to be born of a virgin in an obscure village named Bethlehem, and later betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.
  • 900 years before His birth, the Psalms told of Jesus’ death by crucifixion, what He would say on the cross, and that soldiers would gamble for His clothes.

Also foretold was Jesus’ resurrection from the grave. The Jews believed that on the fourth day after death, a person’s body began to decay. But Christ was raised on the third day. This fulfilled the words of Psalm 16:10, which says, “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.”

We find references to Christ’s resurrection not only in the Old Testament but also in the New Testament. In fact, the resurrection was the cornerstone of Jesus’ teaching about Himself. Look at what He said after He cleared the temple in John 2: “‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body” (2:19-21).

In Matthew 12:38-40, we find this interchange between the Pharisees and Jesus: “‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’”

In Matthew 16:21, Jesus told His disciples that His resurrection was central to His purpose in coming: “From that time Jesus began to show 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 up on the third day.” So central was Jesus’ belief that He was going to be raised from the dead that even His enemies understood it. That is why His enemies went to such extreme measures to make sure that His tomb was protected. They knew that Jesus was claiming that He would rise from the dead, so they wanted to make sure His body stayed right in the grave to discredit that claim. Throughout Scripture, we find many prophecies of Jesus’ resurrection.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Resurrection: Foolish, Fake News, Or Fact?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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