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Jesus Predicts His Death Again (Mark 10:32-34)

Analysis and Commentary

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Jesus Teaches

Jesus Teaches

    32 And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, 33 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: 34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.
    Compare: Matthew 20:17-19; Luke 18:31-34

Jesus on Suffering and Resurrection

As was noted at the beginning of chapter 10, Jesus is making his way to Jerusalem, yet this is the first point where that fact has been made explicit. Perhaps it was only made explicit to his disciples for the first time here as well and that’s why we are only now seeing that those with him are “afraid” and even “amazed” at the fact that he marches on ahead despite the dangers that await them.

Jesus takes this opportunity to speak privately to his twelve apostles — the language suggests that they are being accompanied by more than this — in order to deliver his third prediction about his impending death. This time he even adds more detail, explaining how he would be taken to the priests who would condemn him and then turn him over to the Gentiles for execution.

Jesus also explains that he would rise again on the third day — just as he did the first two times (8:31, 9:31). This conflicts with John 20:9, however, which states that the disciples “knew not...that he must rise again from the dead.” After three separate predictions, one would imagine that some of it would begin to sink in. Perhaps they wouldn’t understand how it could happen and perhaps they wouldn’t actually believe that it would happen, but in no way could they claim not to have been told about it.

With all of these predictions of death and suffering that would occur at the hands of political and religious leaders in Jerusalem, it’s interesting that no one makes much of an effort to get away — or even to convince Jesus to try and find another path. Instead, they all just keep following along as if everything would turn out alright.

It’s curious that this prediction, just like the first two, is stated in the third person: "the Son of man shall be delivered," "they shall condemn him," "they shall mock him," and "he shall rise again." Why was Jesus speaking about himself in the third person, as if all of this were going to happen to someone else? Why not simply say “I will be condemned to death, but I will rise again”? The text here reads like a church formulation rather than a personal statement.

Why does Jesus say here that he will rise again on “the third day”? In chapter 8, Jesus said that he would rise again “after three days.” The two formulations are not the same: the first is plausibly consistent with what actually happens but the latter is not because it requires three days to pass — but no three days pass between Jesus’ crucifixion on Friday and his resurrection on Sunday.

Matthew also includes this inconsistency. Some verses say “after three days” while others say “on the third day.” Jesus’ resurrection after three days is usually described as a reference to Jonah’s having spent three days in the belly of a whale, but if this is the case the phrase “on the third day” would be incorrect and Jesus’ resurrection on Sunday was too soon — he only spent a day and a half in the “belly” of the earth.

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