From the Archives: Resurection Prophecies

There was an excellent question during a recent meeting of the Men’s Bible Fellowship group at my church. We were looking at the importance of the resurrection of Christ and the question was raised if the resurrection of Christ was prophesied in a similar fashion as his birth. I was able to spend some time researching the question and found the answer to be quite interesting and an opportunity for my own personal growth in understanding God’s Word.

In general, Christ’s resurrection is not prophesied in the same way we think of many of the details of Christ’s life and work, which are attested to in multiple passages in the Old Testament, amounting to dozens of prophecies.There is a very small number of clear references to Christ’s resurrection in the OT, and even those are not as direct as other prophecies we are used to.  However, there are numerous prophecies from the lips of Jesus in the New Testament, prior to the crucifixion, that are crystal clear.

In my personal studies, I’ve fallen into the habit of thinking of messianic prophecy in terms of OT predictions given hundreds of years in advance of their fulfillment. This approach is short-sighted at best. The near-term, crystal-clear predictions from Jesus of His own resurrection are solid ground to stand on and give us sure hope in the One who has conquered death and is now seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Clear Old Testament References

I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:8-11)

Psalm 16:8-11 is the single clearest prophecy concerning the resurrection of the Messiah.  It is identified by both Peter and Paul as such, in the following passages respectively:

God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ (Acts 2:24-28)
And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’ And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ Therefore he says also in another psalm, “‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’ For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. (Acts 13:32-37)

Implicit OT References

The following passages may be taken as implicit references to the resurrection of Christ.  “Implicit” means that the resurrection of Christ may be seen through or behind the text, but it is not spelled out in so many words.  It may prove helpful to look at these verses in concert with a sound Bible commentary to help draw out the implications in each passage.

  • Psalm 22:22 (referenced in Hebrews 2:12)
  • Psalm 118:22-24 (referenced in Matthew 21:42)
  • Isaiah 53:10
  • Hosea 6:1-2
  • Genesis 3:15
  • 1 Samuel 2:6

Clear NT References

The following passages are clear prophecy given by Jesus prior to the crucifixion. He was no reluctant or accidental savior, but the righteous servant and Lord over all.

  • Matthew 12:38-40 (the sign of Jonah)
  • Matthew 16:21
  • Matthew 17:9
  • Matthew 17:23
  • Matthew 20:19
  • Matthew 26:32
  • Matthew 27:63
  • Mark 9:9
  • Mark 9:31
  • Mark 10:33-34
  • Mark 14:58
  • Luke 9:22
  • Luke 18:31-33
  • John 2:19-21

And so it occured precisely as Jesus said.  The resurrection of the Savior is crucial to the Christian religion.  Without it, preaching and faith are futile and we are still in our sins.  But oh, brothers and sisters, the tomb is empty! There is real forgiveness to be had from the gracious hand of our God and Savior.

Originally posted Dec, 2011

The Hands, Feet, and Fish of the Gospel

There are no rules for these things. You hear the story over and over through the years and it seems so… obvious, that it had to happen exactly this way. But you know, there are no rules for these things.

Jesus rises from the dead and miraculously appears to the eleven (absent Thomas) in Luke 24. It is a familiar account. But with that familiarity, we slip through the story, sliding by details, passing through nuance, the blurring speed of the bullet train blending savory detail away. For a few minutes, please slow down, pull over and take a long, deep breath of fresh mountain gospel air with me.

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. (Luke 24:36-40 ESV)

image

“See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.” Following rumours and reports of seeing Jesus after his death, He (Jesus) abruptly appears in the room with the disciples. They are startled, frightened, caught out-of-place, unsettled. To reassure them, He calls them to see His hands and his feet. Why? Why His hands?  Did His hands stick in the disciples’ minds as He ministered to and with them? Was it His taking of the scroll in hand in Luke 4, declaring Himself the fulfillment of God’s long-standing promise?  Or, from Luke 7, his touch of the bier of the widow’s dead son? Could it be His healing and restoring touch of the leper in Matthew 8. Why His hands?  Perhaps it was His mud-making healing touch of the blind man from John 9 or his compassionate healing touch of the blind men in Matthew 20?

Why His feet? Why call the focused attention of the shocked disciples to look at Jesus’ feet? Did they have treasured memories of His walking by the Sea of Galilee in Matthew 4, calling His first disciples? Or His walking past as John the Baptist pointed out the Lamb of God as future disciples listen? Even more likely, the miraculous feet of Jesus walking on the water in Matthew 14, amidst the raging storm, stepping into the boat to bring the disciples safely to the other side?

Why His feet and hands? Although possible, I don’t believe these are the real reasons. Something larger is in view here. The disciples were crushed at the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus.

Listen in as Thomas reacts to their report of Jesus’ appearance:

So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” (John 20:25   ESV)

Rather than treasured memories, His hands and feet still bore the fresh wounds of the nails. This was not Jesus simply telling the story because it had to be that way. He wrote his resurrection story with wounded feet and hands for the sake of love – patient love for His disciples.

There are no rules for this sort of thing. There is no playbook, no familiar territory with resurrection. Jesus could have instantly healed his body. He could have appeared to them in kingly raiment attended by angels. It could have happened ten million different ways. Yet, He chose to come intimately to His friends to show them His hands and feet, so they would know that it was truly Him.

Joy! Wonder struck them like a hammer, but it did not shatter their unbelief. Not yet

And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. (Luke 24:41-43  ESV)

“Have you anything here to eat?”, Jesus asks. What? Lunch at a time like this? Not quite. Is Jesus eating for himself or for His disciples? “He took it and ate before them.”  This everyday, common, run-of-the-mill broiled fish is the final blow to their unbelief. Jesus is eating in front of them, not to dull His hunger, but that they might break free of the final shackles of unbelief; and believing, believe in Him.

Friends, this same Jesus, who suffered long and patiently with the disciples so long ago, continues longsuffering and patient with His disciples today. We walk as they did, with a faltering, unsteady limp. He braces us with nail-scarred hands. He walks the path with us on nail-scarred feet. He defeated death, shrugging off its clammy, powerless grip as He walked alive from the tomb. The hands, feet, and fish of the gospel are true gifts of grace for the first disciples and for us today.

One day we shall see Him, our blessed risen Savior.

Amen and Hallelujah!

Resurrection Prophecies

There was an excellent question during a recent meeting of the Men’s Bible Fellowship group at my church. We were looking at the importance of the resurrection of Christ and the question was raised if the resurrection of Christ was prophesied in a similar fashion as his birth. I was able to spend some time researching the question and found the answer to be quite interesting and an opportunity for my own personal growth in understanding God’s Word. 
In general, Christ’s resurrection is not prophesied in the same way we think of many of the details of Christ’s life and work, which are attested to in multiple passages in the Old Testament, amounting to dozens of prophecies.There is a very small number of clear references to Christ’s resurrection in the OT, and even those are not as direct as other prophecies we are used to.  However, there are numerous prophecies from the lips of Jesus in the New Testament, prior to the crucifixion, that are crystal clear.
In my personal studies, I’ve fallen into the habit of thinking of messianic prophecy in terms of OT predictions given hundreds of years in advance of their fulfillment. This approach is short-sighted at best. The near-term, crystal-clear predictions from Jesus of His own resurrection are solid ground to stand on and give us sure hope in the One who has conquered death and is now seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Clear Old Testament References
I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:8-11)

Psalm 16:8-11 is the single clearest prophecy concerning the resurrection of the Messiah.  It is identified by both Peter and Paul as such, in the following passages respectively:
God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ (Acts 2:24-28)
And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’ And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ Therefore he says also in another psalm, “‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’ For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. (Acts 13:32-37)
Implicit OT References
The following passages may be taken as implicit references to the resurrection of Christ.  “Implicit” means that the resurrection of Christ may be seen through or behind the text, but it is not spelled out in so many words.  It may prove helpful to look at these verses in concert with a sound Bible commentary to help draw out the implications in each passage.
  • Psalm 22:22 (referenced in Hebrews 2:12)
  • Psalm 118:22-24 (referenced in Matthew 21:42)
  • Isaiah 53:10
  • Hosea 6:1-2
  • Genesis 3:15
  • 1 Samuel 2:6
Clear NT References
The following passages are clear prophecy given by Jesus prior to the crucifixion. He was no reluctant or accidental savior, but the righteous servant and Lord over all.
  • Matthew 12:38-40 (the sign of Jonah)
  • Matthew 16:21
  • Matthew 17:9
  • Matthew 17:23
  • Matthew 20:19
  • Matthew 26:32
  • Matthew 27:63
  • Mark 9:9
  • Mark 9:31
  • Mark 10:33-34
  • Mark 14:58
  • Luke 9:22
  • Luke 18:31-33
  • John 2:19-21
And so it occured precisely as Jesus said.  The resurrection of the Savior is crucial to the Christian religion.  Without it, preaching and faith are futile and we are still in our sins.  But oh, brothers and sisters, the tomb is empty! There is real forgiveness to be had from the gracious hand of our God and Savior.