Ever wonder what texts Jesus used in his Bible Study with the two on the Road to Emmaus or the rest of the disciples later? In this podcast we share what we think he showed them because they were blind to what was hiding in plain sight. Makes us wonder what we might still be missing. Come and join us as the adventure continues.
The Truth we did not want to Understand
As Predicted in the Scriptures
Jesus’ suffering and death was not expected by Israel in 30 C.E.
Every time Jesus’ suffering and death is referred to in the New Testament it is stated, “just as it was predicted in the scriptures,” or a similar statement is made. This is because the suffering and death of the Messiah was not anticipated by the Jews in Jesus’ day. The Old Testament passages which predicted his death were in plain sight but hidden because it was not what was wanted by the rabbi’s of the day.
There are none so blind as those who will not see. Spiritual blindness, in this case, was induced by the selfish desire for world domination as hinted at by Solomon’s reign. We see what we want, not the reality we need to see. The statement, “as predicted by the Old Testament,” is made by the writer or speaker to authenticate the suffering and death of Jesus as part of Messiah’s mission. That Messiah had to suffer was unbelievable for Jesus’ contemporaries and some authority was needed to establish its credibility.
The crowd did not anticipate Messiah suffering:
John 12:31-34 NLT “The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. 32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate how he was going to die. 34 The crowd responded, “We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?”
Peter did not anticipate Messiah suffering:
Matthew 16:21-22 NLT From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.22 But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”
The two disciples on road to Emmaus did not believe Messiah would suffer and die:
Luke 24:19-21 NLT “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. 20 But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. 21 We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.
It seems clear then that the concept of a suffering and dying Messiah was absent from Israel at this time in their history. We now turn to Jesus for his understanding of his suffering and death.
Jesus predicted his death in the gospels
Matthew 16:21–23 NLT From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. 22 But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him[b] for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” (Mark 8:31–32, and Luke 9:21–22)
Matthew 17:22–23 NLT After they gathered again in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. 23 He will be killed, but on the third day hewill be raised from the dead.” And the disciples were filled with grief. (Mark 9:30–32, and Luke 9:43–45)
Matthew 20:17–19 NLT As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. 18 “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man[a] will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. 19 Then they will hand him over to the Romans[b] to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” (Mark 10:32–34, and Luke 18:31–34)
John 12:7–8 Christ said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
The disciples did not understand what Jesus was saying.
Some statements by Jesus about the predictions in the Old Testament of his suffering and death.
Matthew 21:38-45 NLT “But when the tenant farmers saw his son coming, they said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to the estate. Come on, let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ So they grabbed him, dragged him out of the vineyard, and murdered him. When the owner of the vineyard returns,” Jesus asked, “what do you think he will do to those farmers?” 41 The religious leaders replied, “He will put the wicked men to a horrible death and lease the vineyard to others who will give him his share of the crop after each harvest.” 42 Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’ (Psalm 118:22-23; Isaiah 28:16) 43 I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. 44 Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.” 45 When the leading priests and Pharisees heard this parable, they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers.
Matthew 26:50-56 NLT Jesus said, “My friend (Judas), go ahead and do what you have come for.” Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 51 But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear. 52 “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. 53 Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? 54 But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?” 55 Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. 56 But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled. (Mark 14:49) (John 18:10 Peter slashed off the ear.) Luke 24:25-27 NLT Then Jesus said to them (disciples on Emmaus road), “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. 26 Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” 27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 24:32 And they (two disciples) said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures? (Of his suffering)
Luke 24:45-46 NLT Then he opened their (11 disciples and others) minds to understand the Scriptures. 46 And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago, that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day.” Paul, looking back on the suffering and death of the Messiah, also authenticated the necessity of his suffering as follows.
1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christdied for our sins according to the Scriptures;
1 Corinthians 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Some Old Testament Scriptures which predicted the suffering of Messiah
Genesis 3:15 NLT
And I (God) will cause hostility between you (the serpent) and the woman (Eve’s children), and between your offspring and her offspring. He (Messiah) will strike your head, and you (the serpent) will strike his heel.”
Numbers 21:8-9 NLT
Then the LORD told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” 9 So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!
Here is the connection Jesus made.
John 3:14-15 NLT
And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.
Psalm 16:10-11 NLT
For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. 11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Psalms 22:11-21 NLT Do not stay so far from me, for trouble is near, and no one else can help me. 12 My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls; fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in! 13 Like lions they open their jaws against me, roaring and tearing into their prey. 14 My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. 15 My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead. 16 My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. 17 I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat. 18 They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing. 19 O LORD, do not stay far away! You are my strength; come quickly to my aid! 20 Save me from the sword; spare my precious life from these dogs. 21 Snatch me from the lion’s jaws and from the horns of these wild oxen.
Psalm 118:22-23 NLT The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. 23 This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.
Isaiah 50:5-6 NLT The Sovereign LORD has spoken to me, and I have listened. I have not rebelled or turned away. 6 I offered my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard.
I did not hide my face from mockery and spitting.
Isaiah 52:13-53:9 NLT See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. 14 But many were amazed when they saw him, His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man. 15 And he will startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence.For they will see what they had not been told; they will understand what they had not heard about. 53 Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm? 2 My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. 3 He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. 4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all. 7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,he did not open his mouth. 8 Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck downfor the rebellion of my people. 9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.
Daniel 9:26-27 NIV After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.
Jonah 1:17-2:10 NLT Now the LORD had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights. 2 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from inside the fish. 2 He said, “I cried out to the LORD in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and LORD, you heard me! 3 You threw me into the ocean depths, and I sank down to the heart of the sea. The mighty waters engulfed me; I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves. 4 Then I said, ‘O LORD, you have driven me from your presence. Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’ 5 “I sank beneath the waves, and the waters closed over me. Seaweed wrapped itself around my head. 6 I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth,whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O LORD my God, snatched me from the jaws of death! 7 As my life was slipping away, I remembered the LORD. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple. 8 Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies. 9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the LORD alone.”10 Then the LORD ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.
Zechariah 12:10 NLT
“Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and
on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.
Zechariah 13:6-7 NLT And if someone asks, ‘Then what about those wounds on your chest?’ he will say, ‘I was wounded at my friends’ house!’
7 “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, the man who is my partner,”
says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “Strike down the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn against the lambs.”
It is not difficult to understand these predictions of Messiah’s suffering, death and resurrection after the fact. Part of the genius of Jesus is that he could discern these predictions prior to their occurrence. This is all the more noteworthy since none of his contemporaries were able to do so.
Prediction does not mean causation. Predicting that I will be dead in 25 years does not mean I am planning euthanasia. My prediction is based on statistics concerning longevity.
The Old Testament prophets wrote under inspiration. They often did not understand the predictive power of their own writing. It is unlikely that David knew when he wrote Psalm 22 that it would be a messianic prediction of Jesus’ suffering on the cross.
The statements in the New Testament about the prediction by the Old Testament of Jesus’ suffering and death are to authenticate the necessity of his suffering and of death. This was necessary because the idea that Messiah would triumphantly reign was so ingrained that Christ’s suffering and death was a stumbling block to receiving him as Messiah.
The rest of Messiah’s reign did not need authentication from the Old Testament as it was common cultural knowledge.
It is sobering to question what predictions in the Scriptures we are blind to in our time because of our selfish desires. We, too, want to avoid suffering and enjoy prestige and position. May we desire ears to hear and eyes to see.
Here are some perceived predictions in the same way that the Messianic prediction was perceived as implying that Messiah would not have to suffer and die.
The idea that Believers are raptured away from the troubles associated with the end of the world is an example of confusing wishing with credible evidence.
The need for perfection by believers before Christ’s return is an example of wishing versus credible evidence. Last Generation perfection is always claimed to be contingent on Jesus assistance and the power of the Holy Spirit. However, it means that Jesus becomes dependent on us to determine when he can come. This generation becomes the saviour of the world.
Legalism is based on the wish that I can partially earn my salvation. Legalists believe they need Jesus’ help to do so, but the subtle small print is that we need Jesus less and less with the passage of time.
Ian Hartley June 2022