FOCUS: “We want to see a sign!”
KEY SCRIPTURE: Matthew 12:38-40
(NOTE: All verses are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.)
“Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.’
“He answered, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except for the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.‘”
PROPHECY CONNECTION IN JONAH:
Jonah 1:15-17 — “Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.
“But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.”
PROPHECY CONNECTIONS IN MATTHEW testify that Jesus foretold his own death and resurrection:
Matthew 20:17-19 — “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 by 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!‘”
Matthew 27:26 – 28:7 documents the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy — “Then [Pilate] released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. . . .
“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up his spirit.
“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. . . .
“As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. . . .
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.”‘”
PROPHECY CONNECTIONS IN MARK testify that Jesus predicted His death and resurrection:
Mark 10:32-34 — “They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way … Again He took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to Him. ‘We are going up to Jerusalem,’ He said, ‘and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him, insult Him, spit on Him, flog Him and kill Him. Three days later He will rise.'”
Mark 15:16 – 16:7 documents the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy — “The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on Him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on Him. And they began to call out to Him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck Him on the head with a staff and spit on Him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to Him. And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purple robe and put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him out to crucify Him.. . .
“It was the third hour when the crucified Him … With a loud cry, Jesus breathed His last.
“The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard His cry and saw how He died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God!’ . . .
“Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate was surprised to hear that He was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where He was laid. . . .
“Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’
“But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
“‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.’ ”
PROPHECY CONNECTIONS IN LUKE testify that Jesus predicted His death and resurrection:
Luke 18:31-34 — “Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him, insult Him, spit on Him, flog Him and kill hHm. On the third day He will rise again.’
“The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what He was talking about.”
Luke 22:63 – 24:8 documents the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy — “The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating Him. They blindfolded Him and demanded, ‘Prophesy! Who hit you?’ And they said many other insulting things to Him. . . .
“With loud shouts they [the crowd] insistently demanded that He be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. . . .
“When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him, along with the criminals—one on His right, the other on His left. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ . . .
“It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When He had said this, He breathed his last. . . .
“Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
“The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it. . . .
“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”‘
“Then they remembered His words.”
PROPHECY CONNECTIONS IN JOHN document the fulfillment of Jesus’ words and those of ancient prophets:
John 19:1-3 — “Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head. They clothed Him in a purple robe and went up to Him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck Him in the face.
John 19:16-18 — “Finally Pilate handed Him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying His own cross, He went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified Him, and with Him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.”
John 19:23-24 — “When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took His clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. ‘Let’s not tear it,”‘they said to one another. ‘Let’s decide by lot who will get it.’
“This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, ‘They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.’ * So this is what the soldiers did.”
* Prophecy connection from Psalm 22:18!
John 19:31-36 — “Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that He was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.
“These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken,”‘* and, as another scripture says, ‘They will look on the one they have pierced.’ ** “
* Prophecy connections in Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12, and Psalm 34:20
** Prophecy connection from Zechariah 12:10 — “They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”
John 19:38 – 20:9 — “Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!’
“So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple [John] outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first [John], also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
John 20:10-18 — “Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
“They asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’
“‘They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put Him.’ At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
“‘Woman,’ He said, ‘why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’
“Thinking He was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will get Him.’
“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’
“She turned toward Him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher). ” . . .
“Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’
DIGGING DEEPER . . .
John was an eyewitness to what happened to Jesus. And his TESTIMONY was recorded SO THAT “YOU ALSO MAY BELIEVE.”
Matthew, Mark and Luke recorded in their gospels that, at the moment of Jesus’ death, the 15-foot tall curtain in the temple was supernaturally torn in two from top to bottom. This curtain had acted as a separation between God and man from the time of worship in the tabernacle — instituted after the Israelites’ miraculous escape from Egypt — until the moment that Jesus gave up His spirit! Only the high priest had been allowed to pass beyond the curtain — while following strict rules given by the Lord God — to make atonement for the sins of God’s people, the descendants of Issac and Israel, using the blood of sacrificed animals.
Prophecy connection in Hebrews: The writer of Hebrews explained that when that curtain was ripped apart, Jesus Christ “entered the Most Holy place once and for all by His own blood” and “offered Himself unblemished to God” (Hebrews 9:12-14). Jesus did away with sin by sacrificing Himself, “and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him” (Hebrews 9:26-28).
A PROPHECY CONNECTIONS CHALLENGE: Check out Acts 1:9-11 to see what two angels, disguised as men, foretold about Jesus’ second coming!