Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
When Jesus made this claim, his disciples didn’t grasp the meaning. Such an incredible prophecy of one’s fate was far beyond the realm of human understanding. Sure, Jesus’ ministry had been met with opposition but He had extraordinary powers, amazing knowledge, and wisdom. Wherever He went, He drew large crowds of people who adored Him. They saw Jesus as the blessed hope of Israel, the one who would be their great liberator and king. The future looked so promising. With Jesus as their leader, they were headed for a better tomorrow. Then, suddenly, Jesus hit them with words that stopped them in their tracks. Betrayed. Condemned. Mocked. Flogged. Crucified!
This One who would lead them was now prophesying His impending death. There are few things in life that hit so hard as the news that someone you love dearly is about to die. Possibly, they were too consumed by words of Jesus’ death to consider the words that followed. “On the third day he will be raised to life!” Even if they tried to process these words such an event was beyond comprehension. People just don’t die and then come back to life a few days later. They had seen Jesus perform amazing miracles including raising Lazarus from the dead but this assertion was beyond comprehension.
Possibly, they were only hearing what they wanted to hear, much like the way we sometimes read scripture. It’s like watching television, tuning out the commercials, and channel surfing until we settle on something acceptable.
I once worked with a radio station receptionist who read the bible at her desk every day. I noticed she was highlighting scripture — but not with a yellow highlight pen. She was using a black marker. It looked like she was marking out parts of scripture she didn’t like.
We also cannot ignore the fact that the Holy Spirit often veiled the meaning of Jesus’ instruction only to give them understanding at a later time. The same thing happens to us. Have you ever read a passage of scripture numerous times and then one day you have a light bulb experience? “So that’s what that means.”
It was not until after Jesus’ resurrection they could understand His prophecy. It took a relatable life experience and the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit to comprehend Jesus’ words.
Jesus’ prophecy concerning Himself revealed that on the other side of suffering everything will be all right. There will be incredible victory. That terrible ordeal of the cross would not be the end but the beginning of something better. To get to the better future they had envisioned He must first suffer and then there would be victory, not as they had imagined, but something far better with eternal value. God’s plan is always better than man’s plan.
Jesus’ victory was not just for Him but also for all who put their faith in Him for eternal salvation. Whenever we face painful trials, we can always be certain that on the other side of suffering there is victory. Jesus conquered death and suffering with His resurrection. All afflictions on this earth for the Christian are temporary and end in eternal victory.
At your disposal is power unfathomable. It is the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. It is mind-blowing, supernatural power that exceeds human comprehension. Nothing you face in life is impossible for God. Surely, we must be grounded in the reality of human experience and knowledge. But we should never forget that we are not solely limited by that which we can see and understand. There is a power that is in us that supersedes the limitations of the natural world. Now and forever, on the other side of suffering there is always hope… because He lives. Suffering and death is not the end. Thanks be to God for His incredible gift.
For more on this topic, check out this article: No Longer Condemned and Off Death Row
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.