Remembering the Words of Jesus

“‘He is not here but has risen! Remember how he told you when he was in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day he would rise.’ And they remembered his words.”

(Luke 24:6-8)

And to the wonderful words of “He has risen,” Luke adds a reminder from the Angels. They basically say, “Hey, don’t you remember that Jesus told you this would happen?” And indeed, that is exactly what happened…not once, but several times:

“From then on Jesus began to demonstrate to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly by the Elders, the Priests, and the Scribes and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

(Matthew 16:21)

“Behold, we are going to Jerusalem and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the priests and scribes and they will condemn him to death. They will deliver him to the gentiles to be mocked, flogged, and crucified and on the third day, he will be raised.”

(Matthew 20:18-19)

“You know that in two days, when it is Passover, the Son of Man will be delivered to be crucified.”

(Matthew 26:2)

Even minus the parallels in the other Gospels, here we have at least four occasions where Jesus has been speaking to the disciples about his eventual death, crucifixion, and resurrection. And, if you note the narrative reference found in Matthew 16:21, the implication is that this is an ongoing series of lessons where Jesus demonstrates to them (arguably from the Scriptures) that he must go to the cross and be crucified. 

Even so, when we are shown news that we don’t want to hear it is easy for us to dismiss it as just a bad dream or something that will happen in the far future and not in the “here and now.” And so, it is easy to rationalize that the disciples would not listen closely to the parts they did not want to hear…and might be slow to make the connections when they realized it was being fulfilled. Yet, with the explanation, these women “remembered” though the verses that follow betray to us that they still did not yet fully understand the significance of this event.

Looking back though, we are reminded once again as to who Jesus was by these words of prophesy. You and I might have enough insight to predict some basic things that will take place in the near future, but not with the specificity of Jesus’ statements above. And none of us can claim that we will rise again from the dead — that is a miracle, wrought by the power of God, to glorify His Son and to assure us that in Christ, death had been conquered. And that is good news.

Thoughts of the death of Christ ought to weigh on our hearts — but for the believer, they are a sign of a promise. At the same time, they are an ever-present reminder of the cost brought about by our own sins…something that ought to constantly drive us to repentance when we engage in it.

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