Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.” But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken. (Luke 18:31-34)
What The Prophets Said About Jesus
The events in the life of Jesus were not random or coincidental. Long before His birth, the prophets spoke of where the Savior would be born, His character, what He would teach and most importantly: how the Messiah would die. Jesus would share only a few times with His disciples what was written in the Law, Prophets and Psalms concerning His death. Taking the twelve aside, the Lord tells them they will be going to Jerusalem and He will be delivered to the Gentiles. This is especially powerful because Jesus is telling the twelve the Romans will scourge Him and kill Him on a cross. What is more amazing is that Jesus tells them He will rise from the dead. In all of this the twelve did not understand what He meant and dared not ask. God hid the full meaning of these words to the twelve to protect them and to fulfill the plan of redemption. Taking the twelve aside Jesus limited the discussion to a few. If the people had heard this they might have risen up against the Romans to save their Lord. Keeping the twelve in the dark also kept them from doing anything rash. Later, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter used a sword to defend the Lord but to no avail. Jesus rebuked him that it was not the will of the Father to stop what would need to happen.
Reading the Old Testament must be seen from the standpoint of its message. At first glance it is the story of beginnings such as the world, the nations and the history of the Israelite nation. The poetry and wisdom literature is a refreshing change with its powerful music of words and proverbs of knowledge. Opening the books of the prophets can be a challenge. However, reading the prophets from the view of Jesus will change the perspective to see God’s glory in what was written. The 39 books of the Old Testament are about one person: Jesus Christ. Changing the lens of examination will help the student see more clearly the reason God gave men the Old Testament. It testifies of His Son. Jesus illustrated to His disciples the prophets wrote about Him. They wrote about the Gentiles (Romans) taking the Messiah and treating Him in a savage manner. Scourging was a horrific beating that preceded a crucifixion. Being crucified was the most painful and torturous death devised by man and the Coming One would die such a death. If the students of the old law were careful in their studies they would see the purpose in death by crucifixion was that no bone would be broken. They would know the Jews used stoning as a means of execution but the Lamb of God would not have any bones broken. The prophets wrote how the Gentiles would be the executioners fulfilling that requirement.
Hidden from the disciples was the reality of the resurrection. On a few occasions Jesus would tell His disciples that He would die but then come out of the grave. Raising Lazarus from the dead was a precursor to the resurrection of Jesus. The Son of Man showed His power over death and testified the Father would raise Him in the same manner. The prophets wrote about the resurrection of the Son of God. The Law, Psalms and Prophets clearly defined the life of the Messiah and the power of God to raise His Son from the dead. All of this should lead the student of scripture to see the grace of God in His Son Jesus Christ and that all things were fulfilled as promised by the prophets. The things that happened to Jesus were not happen-chance. They were the fulfillment of the plan God had before the world began. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s love.
Reading the Old Testament should reveal Christ to all men. The early disciples preached Christ from the Old Testament. Philip taught a man from Ethiopia what he must do to be saved starting from the book of Isaiah. The conclusion drawn from the Ethiopian was that baptism was necessary for salvation. Jesus is in there. He proclaimed His own story from the pages of the Law, Psalms and Prophets. His life is revealed in the scheme of redemption on every page. The death of Jesus was not a mistake or the church a substitute because the Jews accidentally killed the Messiah. It was in the prophets. The Jews delivered Jesus to be killed and the Romans carried out the sentence making all men – Jew and Gentile – guilty of the blood of God’s Son. No one is justified because the prophets said it would happen. Praise God for His infinite glory seen in the writings of the prophets.