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God’s Word for You

Luke 9:22 “Must.”

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, May 3, 2018

22 He said, “The Son of Man must suffer much from the elders, the chief priests, and the experts in the law, and he must be rejected by them. He must be killed and he must also be raised on the third day.” ª

ª 9:22 “third day.” The Jewish idiom includes both the first and last day of the period concerned, whether they were complete days or parts of days.

Perhaps another reason that Jesus warned his disciples not to tell people yet that he was the Christ was that there were already men among the Jews who hated him and were plotting against him. A few months before this, after Jesus healed a man with a shriveled hand on a Sabbath day, “the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus” (Matthew 12:14). This would be compounded to include the whole Sanhedrin and the chief priests when Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead (John 11:53).

Let’s learn a little theology from the grammar of Jesus’ words. He uses the word dei (Δεῖ), “must; it is necessary.” This word is followed by four infinitive verbs: “to suffer,” “to be rejected,” “to be killed,” and “to be raised.” All of these four things were necessary. All of these things, Jesus said, “must happen.” This was the ministry appointed to him by God the Father and prophesied about him in the Scriptures.

His suffering was foretold by David and by Isaiah: “My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death” (Psalm 22:15). “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

His rejection was likewise foretold by David and by Isaiah: “I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people” (Psalm 22:6). “He was despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:3).

His death by execution was foretold by Isaiah and Moses. “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). “Anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse” (Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:13). David even prophesied specific moments of the crucifixion: “They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing” (Psalm 22:18; John 19:24). And Jesus quoted the same Psalm: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1). The hours of his crucifixion, turning from bright noon to darkness, are also hinted at: “O my God, I cry out my day, but you do not answer; by night and am not silent” (Psalm 22:2).

And like the prophecies of his suffering and death, his resurrection was also prophesied. “You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your holy one see decay” (Psalm 16:10).

In our verse, both the suffering and the rejection of Jesus are linked to the three groups: the elders, the chief priests, and the experts in the law. “Elders” could mean either a local group of religious leaders in a village, but in this context it refers to the Sanhedrin, the highest ruling council of seventy-one leaders. This was the group that had Jesus bound, and handed him over to Pontius Pilate (Mark 15:1).

A year before his crucifixion, Jesus was fully aware of what was going to happen. He knew who would betray him, who would reject him, who would crucify him, and when he would rise from the dead. This was possible only because Jesus is fully and truly God as well as human.

When the women went to Jesus’ tomb on the Sunday morning following his death, they expected to find the tomb sealed, Jesus’ body inside, and a long labor of anointing their Lord with spices following his burial. What they found instead was that the tomb had been opened already, that it was empty, and two angels standing there with them. One of the angels reminded them of these words of Jesus. He said, “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 hand of sinful men. He must be crucified and he must also be raised again on the third day’” (Luke 24:5-6). Jesus had prophesied his death by crucifixion many times (see also Matthew 16:21, 17:23, 20:19, 26:2; Mark 8:31; Luke 13:32, 18:32-33). By doing this, he was teaching them and us what he meant in this verse by “must.” Jesus’ crucifixion was God’s plan all along. It did not take Jesus by surprise. It was the payment that was required to atone for the sins of all mankind. By his wounds we are healed.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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