Jesus predicts his death for the third time (Matthew 20:17 – 20:19).
Jesus was travelling to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the disciples aside and told them:
“We are going up to Jerusalem and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day, he will be raised from death and will live again!”
What the story means to us today
Man’s difficult believing and maintaining faith has not changed
This is Jesus’ third and final “passion prediction”. It surely stunned the disciples. Despite the astonishing revelation, the disciples continued to squabble with each other over who will be the most important to the ministry. It will take final fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction before the disciples clearly grasp not just the gravity of Jesus’ prediction, but the true purpose of Christ’s short life on earth.
Not much has changed since Jesus’ day. Many still find it difficult to understand, grasp, and believe in things we cannot see, hear, or experience firsthand. This struggle to believe is common and the reason we frequently mention “faith”. For some, it takes much discipline and practice to develop and maintain faith.
Additional thoughts and considerations
Jesus provides a surprisingly accurate description of his death
Jesus’ prediction of his death was not vague. He told the disciples he would be sentenced to death, that he would be “handed over” to the Gentiles, that he would be flogged and crucified, and that he would rise from the dead on the third day. Several of these predictions would have been surprising to the disciples.
Jesus said he would be condemned implying there would be some sort of legal trial.
Jesus told the disciples that he would die by crucifixion. This was a highly unusual form of punishment that was typically only given for the most vile and severe crime. The Roman historian Cicero called it a cruel and disgusting penalty and the historian Josephus called it the worst of any form of death.
Jesus said he would be handed over to the Gentiles who would take part in the crucifixion. At the time, only Romans could crucify a person.
And of course, Jesus told the disciples he would rise from the dead on the third day. This would require a miracle far beyond anything Jesus had demonstrated to date.
17 Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, 18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.
The NET Bible
20:17 As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve aside privately and said to them on the way, 20:18 “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the experts in the law. They will condemn him to death, 20:19 and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged severely and crucified. Yet on the third day, he will be raised.”
Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006. Print.
17 Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, 18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.
17–19 Jesus, now well on the way up to Jerusalem, took the Twelve off to the side of the road and said, “Listen to me carefully. We are on our way up to Jerusalem. When we get there, the Son of Man will be betrayed to the religious leaders and scholars. They will sentence him to death. They will then hand him over to the Romans for mockery and torture and crucifixion. On the third day he will be raised up alive.”
Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.
King James Version
17 And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, 18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, 19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009. Print.