How do you respond to Matthew 16:21?

“From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

The ministry and death of Jesus are the centerpieces of God’s plan in world history. Therefore, very little surrounding Jesus’ life and death was left to chance. It had been determined from ages past that the Lord himself would have to become a man and die. This is something God was going to do, and thus it was foreknown from whatever time he decided it. In this verse Jesus reveals the divine plan to his disciples. But we have no reason to conclude from this that the whole of the future was settled in Jesus’ mind (see Mark 13:32). Indeed, Jesus’ prayer in the Garden suggests that he held an outside hope that even his death could be averted at the last minute (Matt. 26:39). Nor should we conclude that the specific elders, chief priests and scribes who were going to be instrumental in putting Jesus to death were predestined or foreknown from ages past to do so. The verse simply indicates that by the time Jesus was teaching his disciples about his future it was certain that some of these people would act in this fashion.

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