Sermon: God’s Providence in The Death and Resurrection of His Son Matthew 17:22 & 23

Truth Taught- God is at work in history to decree, to plan, to announce, and to accomplish the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.


Jesus’ task now, as we mentioned last time, is to equip His disciples to become leaders in the Church once He has accomplished His mission to come and save His people from their sin.  He has lived a perfect life free from all sin.  He is perfectly obedient to His Father’s will.  Twice, the Father has commended Jesus to us by declaring, this is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.  Jesus is now teaching His disciples what being the Messiah has in store for Him and for them.  He will go to Jerusalem and die and on the third day be raised from the dead.
On at least four occasions in the Synoptic Gospels Jesus will tell His followers about the upcoming events of His suffering, death and resurrection.  

1.  Jesus Makes Multiple Predictions About His Death and Resurrection
Our Lord makes multiple predictions concerning His death and resurrection in the Synoptic Gospels.

A.  First Prediction

Matthew 16:21 (ESV) 

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 

This first prediction Jesus speaks of Jerusalem as the place of His death.  He speaks of His suffering at the hands of the Jewish leadership.  He speaks of His death and His resurrection…then Peter rebukes Him. 
Notice in verse 21, Jesus simply reports what is going to happen when He goes to Jerusalem.  He will suffer many things from the elders, chief priests and scribes.  He will be killed and on the third day be raised from the dead. 

B.  Second Prediction

Matthew 17:12 (ESV) 

12 But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.” 

Here our Lord just briefly mentions His suffering at the hands of sinful men.  It’s very brief and many don’t count this as a prediction but it is clearly a reference to Jesus’ eventual suffering and death as He compares Himself to John the Baptist and what happened to him.

C.  Third Prediction

The third foretelling of our Lord’s death comes to us in our text today.  

Matthew 17:22–23 (ESV) 

22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed. 

We might speculate as to why this repetition?  We could come up with some reasons but let’s allow God’s Word to tell us why Jesus keeps reminding His disciples of this day when He will go to Jerusalem and die and then be raised from the dead.

John 14:25–29 (ESV) 

25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. This repetition of prophecy is so that when the events Jesus spoke of actually take place, the disciples will believe.  Repetition, then, will give His followers faith when they actually see the event take place that Jesus had told them about.  Even at the time of the cross, they were still afraid and their faith was not fully set.  It wasn’t until the resurrection that they truly believed.    

2.  The Son of Man is About to be Delivered

Matthew 17:22–23 (ESV) 

22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed. 

As Jesus tells them what is going to happen when they get to Jerusalem, He builds the prophecy by adding more details.  Here, in our text today He adds another additional part that is very important.  Here, Jesus adds the fact that He wasn’t going to be simply killed in Jerusalem by the hands of sinful men but in our prediction today, He tells His followers that He will be delivered into the hands of those who would kill Him.  This is very significant.

To understand the depth of this additional part, we need to answer the question who delivered Jesus over to be killed?  As we look together at the answer we will find ourselves in the middle of the doctrine of God’s providence.
The Old Testament has many predictions concerning the Messiah.  There are prophecies concerning His suffering…
Isaiah 53:3–9 (ESV) 

He was despised and rejected by men, 

a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; 

and as one from whom men hide their faces 

he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 

Surely he has borne our griefs 

and carried our sorrows; 

yet we esteemed him stricken, 

smitten by God, and afflicted. 

But he was pierced for our transgressions; 

he was crushed for our iniquities; 

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, 

and with his wounds we are healed. 

All we like sheep have gone astray; 

we have turned—every one—to his own way; 

and the Lord has laid on him 

the iniquity of us all. 

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, 

yet he opened not his mouth; 

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, 

and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, 

so he opened not his mouth. 

By oppression and judgment he was taken away; 

and as for his generation, who considered 

that he was cut off out of the land of the living, 

stricken for the transgression of my people? 

And they made his grave with the wicked 

and with a rich man in his death, 

although he had done no violence, 

and there was no deceit in his mouth. 

Deuteronomy 21:22–23 (ESV) 

22 “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.

Galatians 3:13–14 (ESV) 

13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. 

Exodus 12:12–13 (ESV) 

12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. 

Exodus 12:23–27 (ESV) 

23 For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. 24 You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. 25 And when you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. 26 And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27 you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’ ” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 

1 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV) 

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 

1 Peter 1:19 (ESV) 

19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 

We could continue but these should suffice.  The Cross of Christ was God’s plan from the beginning.  He announced it time and again in the Old Testament, telling what He was going to do.  Now, how would God accomplish this wondrous event?  This is the crown of God’s providence.

A.  Delivered Over By Human Hands

Matthew 26:14–25 (ESV) 

14 Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. 

17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’ ” 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. 

20 When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. 21 And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” 23 He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” 25 Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.” 

Judas by his own volition chose to betray Jesus for a sum of money.  No one made him do this horrible act.  Satan did not in any way force Judas to do what he did.  Judas was lost and loved money and when he saw things, from a human perspective, going downhill he thought that perhaps he could salvage something out this three year loss so he turned Jesus over to the authorities for money.  Judas delivered Jesus over to be crucified.  He was the human who delivered Jesus over.

B.  Delivered Over by God the Father
Isaiah 53:10 (ESV) 

10  Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; 

he has put him to grief; 

when his soul makes an offering for guilt, 

he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; 

the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 

It pleased God to crucify Jesus.  The original Greek is very clear that the will of God is the word pleased.  It is pleasing to God because once and for all the sin of God’s people would actually be paid for and finished.  To understand Isaiah 53:10 we must see God’s attitude toward His people in Isaiah 1:11ff

Isaiah 1:11–14 (ESV) 

11  “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? 

says the Lord; 

I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams 

and the fat of well-fed beasts; 

I do not delight in the blood of bulls, 

or of lambs, or of goats. 

12  “When you come to appear before me, 

who has required of you 

this trampling of my courts? 

13  Bring no more vain offerings; 

incense is an abomination to me. 

New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations— 

I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. 

14  Your new moons and your appointed feasts 

my soul hates; 

they have become a burden to me; 

I am weary of bearing them. 

God’s providence often involves mankind to carry it out.

Acts 2:22–24 (ESV) 

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 

We know from the biblical record it was Judas who delivered Jesus over.  Peter says it was God who delivered Jesus to be crucified… this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men

God’s providence is amazing He decrees something to take place, makes it known through prophets and then carries it out through men and all the while they are not forced to do His bidding they simply do it because they desire to do it and through it all God remains sinless even though at times sin is required in the carrying out of His plan.
Judas carried out God’s plan and he was responsible for his sin.
Now lets look together at where the disciples went wrong in their understanding of Jesus’ predictions.

3.  The Problem is the Disciples Were Fixed on Jesus’ Death Not His Resurrection

The first time…
Matthew 16:21 (ESV) 

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 

Notice, Peter did not focus on the resurrection but simply on Jesus’ death.  Peter’s rebuke of Jesus has to do with our Lord telling him that He was going to Jerusalem and be killed.  It’s as if Jesus had not even said that He would be raised.  Peter was fixed on the death of Jesus, not the resurrection at all.
Now, let’s look at the prediction from today’s text…
Matthew 17:22–23 (ESV) 

22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed. 

Notice how their collective response also indicates that now they are all focused on Jesus’ death.  The text tells us, they were greatly distressed. 

The original word for distressed is elypēthēsanwhich means to be overwhelmed with fear, to be greatly vexed.    

Here again, their response indicates that they do not understand about the final piece of salvation’s puzzle.  They do not understand the resurrection.  They simply focus on Jesus’ death and cannot understand the resurrection.  This is also why in the resurrection narratives, the ones who should have been waiting for Jesus’ resurrection were surprised when it took place. 
It took an angel reminding them of what Jesus had told them many times before they believed.  

Luke 24:6–12 (ESV) 

He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. 

For the women, their initial belief came as the two angels reminded them of these very words from our text today.  They too heard our Lord speak the words of prediction.  

The formula goes like this…Jesus predicts His death and resurrection.  They have no real way to comprehend this so they focus on His death.  It’s not until they see there is no body and hear the angels remind them of Jesus’ words that then and there they believe and go running to tell the others.

Now we see Peter’s response is appropriate…he went home marveling.  Peter has been brought from rebuking Jesus and from being greatly distressed to marveling.  What is the one ingredient they all overlooked?  The Resurrection.


By no amount of good works — no matter how great — could any human being earn (or obtain) the forgiveness of even one sin which he has committed. If man could have been saved by good works, there would have been no need for the grace of God (the unmerited favor of God). God’s gift of His Son on the cross of Calvary and His resurrection are the crowning act of God’s providence in regard to His eternal purpose to save all of His people.
God gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross so that sinners might be saved by the grace of God and not lost according to what they deserve.
The resurrection is God infinitely and miraculously endorsing all the works of His Son, Jesus.
God acts throughout history as He made all the preparations for the cross, as He worked out all the events surrounding the cross, as He raised His Son from the dead and now as He saves sinners by grace who deserve hell. 
Is God continuing His acts of providence in your life?  Has He saved you from your sin by the death of Christ?
What is God doing right now in you?
Let’s pray…

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