Jesus Prophesied That He Would Die In The Future
During the course of his ministry, which lasted for three and a half years, Jesus made a stunning prophecy of His own death to His followers on several occasions. In the weeks leading up to His crucifixion, Jesus made it abundantly apparent to his followers that He would suffer death and then be raised from the dead.
Matthew 16:21 — From that point on, Jesus started to teach his followers that he had to travel to Jerusalem, suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and then be executed, and then on the third day be resurrected from the dead.
Peter’s response shows that they did not understand the significance of Jesus’ comments and that they were unaware of His return at that time. They did not anticipate that Jesus would leave or perhaps pass away. As the next verse demonstrates, they continued to have the expectation that Jesus would destroy the Romans and establish a Jewish kingdom on earth.
Matthew 20:20-22 — At that time, the mother of Zebedee’s boys approached him together with her children and, while knelt in front of him, she posed a question to him. And he asked her, “What do you want me to do for you?” She then addressed him with the following instruction: “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit in your kingdom, one at your right hand and one at your left.” Jesus responded by saying, “You have no idea what you are inquiring about. Are you able to drink from the same cup that I am going to drink from? They responded to him with the statement, “We are able.”
The scriptures that have been read indicate why His followers were so ignorant. They believed that Jesus will establish a Jewish monarchy on earth after his death and resurrection.
Luke 18:31-34 — And holding the twelve disciples in his arms, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all that has been written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be completed.” Because he is going to be handed over to the Gentiles, where he will be ridiculed, humiliated, and spat upon. And when they have flogged him, they will put him to death; nevertheless, on the third day he will arise.” However, none of these concepts registered with them. They were not aware of this proverb, and as a result, they could not understand what was being stated.
Luke 19:11 — After they had heard these things, he began to relate a parable because he was close to Jerusalem and because they believed that the kingdom of God would emerge at any moment. This was due to the fact that they were under the impression that it would happen soon.
Both of these verses imply that within a week of the time that Matthew 24 was being preached, His followers still held the belief that Jesus would establish an earthly kingdom with its capital city located in Jerusalem. They anticipated that the king would show up at any moment now.
Jesus not only foretold that he would die, but he also said that many of those who were listening to him would not die until they saw the Son of Man come in his reign. This was a double prophecy that Jesus made.
Matthew 16:28 — I tell you the truth, there are some of those standing here who will not know what it is like to die until they see the Son of Man coming in his reign.
In fact, when Jesus sent the twelve apostles in pairs, He foretold that they would face opposition in the future. It was not while Jesus was among them that this horrible persecution began; rather, it was after the day of Pentecost, when the church of the new covenant was established and a large number of new members joined the congregation quickly.
Matthew 10:23 — If they persecute you in one town, escape to the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have travelled through all the cities and villages of Israel before the coming of the Son of Man.
King Through Force
When the people witnessed the sign that Jesus had performed, which was feeding the five thousand people, they proclaimed that Jesus was the Prophet who was about to arrive. This happened after Jesus had already fed the five thousand. Because they anticipated the establishment of a kingdom on earth, they intended to coerce Jesus into ruling over them. Jesus, however, was aware of what they were thinking, and so he sneaked out to the mountain by himself.
John 6:14-15 — When the people saw the sign that he had done, they remarked, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world!” (He is indeed the Prophet who will come into the world!) Jesus fled once again to the mountain where he was by himself when he realised that they were about to come and forcefully kidnap him in order to declare him king.
Ignoring What Is Important
His own followers had missed the point about the nature of the kingdom while he was still on earth because they were too focused on following him. The things that Jesus spoke were beyond their comprehension, and as a result, their anticipations were not met by the things that He stated. This is shown by the fact that He greeted them on the road to Emmaus, the place where the disciples were mourning.
Luke 24:19-21 — And he asked them, “What things?” (What things?) And they said to him, “In regard to Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet great before God and all the people in both speech and action, and how our highest priests and most powerful rulers betrayed him and handed him up to be sentenced to death so that he might be crucified. Nevertheless, we had high expectations that he would be the one to save Israel. Yes, and in addition to everything else, today marks the third day since these occurrences took place.
Jesus reprimanded them for their obvious lack of wisdom,
Luke 24:25-27 — And he addressed to them, saying, “O stupid ones, and slow of heart to accept everything that the prophets have proclaimed!” Why did it have to be that the Christ would have to go through all of this in order to get into his glory? And starting with Moses and continuing through all of the Prophets, he explained to them in each and every one of the Scriptures the things that pertained to himself.
They looked forward to the Messiah bringing political liberation from Roman authority, the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth, and glory to Israel. All of these things were expected to take place via the Messiah. However, Jesus revealed to them the accurate interpretation of the predictions found in the Old Testament. He showed them that in order for Him to enter His resurrected glory in heaven, He must first endure suffering.