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Answering The Atheist
December 25, 2005 / Volume 5, Issue 52

THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
Did Jesus forewarn the apostles of his death and resurrection? Some verses say that He did (Matthew 20:18-19; Mark 8:31; 10:33-34; 14:28; Luke 18:31-33), but John 20:9 says He didn't. Is there a contradiction?

RESPONSE:
Indeed, on several occasions Jesus told the disciples that He would be put to death and raised again from the dead. The questioner has given a good list, as seen above. The trouble seems to be with the text in John's gospel.

It needs to be acknowledged that hearing something and actually knowing something are not the same. The disciples had heard Jesus say that He would be put to death and thereafter raised from the dead, but they did not comphrehend what He spoke about. The Greek word translated "knew" in the text is eido, which also appears in the previous verse. The word means "...to see...to know:--be aware, behold...consider,(have) know(-ledge), look (on), perceive, see, be sure, tell, understand..." (Thayer's) The disciples were not aware, they did not perceive or understand what the Lord spoke about.

I find it interesting that the questioner lists Luke 18:31-33. Why not include verse 34? It reads, "And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken." This verse wonderfully explains John 20:9. Though they had heard, they did not perceive or understand.

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible