“I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.” (John 13:19)
Jesus himself taught that all the prophecies about him would be fulfilled. In other words, we have a testimony, not only that the writers themselves saw Jesus’s life as fulfillment of prophecy, but that Jesus did, too.
For example, in Luke 22:37, Jesus says, “I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment” (see Isaiah 53:12). Jesus saw that the predictions of the Messiah and his sufferings would be fulfilled in himself.
Jesus took up the principle of John 13:19 and foretold numerous details of what was going to happen to him so that we might believe when they happened. “He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31). Jesus saw the predictions of the Messiah and his sufferings being fulfilled in himself.
- He foresaw that his death would be by crucifixion (John 3:14; 12:32).
- He predicted that the disciples would find an unridden colt when they entered the town (Luke 19:30).
- When the disciples entered Jerusalem that last Thursday, he predicted they would meet a man with the water pitcher who would have a room for them to meet in (Luke 22:10).
- After three years of waiting, he knew the exact hour of his departure out of the world (John 13:1).
- Jesus knew that he would be betrayed, and who would betray him, and when it would happen (John 6:64; 13:1; Matthew 26:2, 21).
- He knew and predicted the fact and the time of Peter’s three denials (Matthew 26:34).
- Jesus predicted that the disciples would all fall away and be scattered (Matthew 26:31; John 16:32; Zechariah 13:7).
- Jesus prophesied that he would be “lifted up from the earth” (John 12:32). That is, he would not be stoned but crucified—not by Jews but by Romans. So the decisions of Pilate and the Jews of how to dispose of him were a fulfillment of his prediction.
He makes all these predictions, according to John 13:19, so that we would believe he is God, that what he says about himself is true.
In other words, Jesus is saying, “If you are struggling to believe that I am the promised Messiah, that I am the one who was in the beginning with God and was God (John 1:1), that I am the divine Son of God, who can forgive all your sins and give you eternal life and guide you on the path to heaven, then I want to help you believe. And one of the ways I am going to help you have well-grounded faith is by telling you what is going to happen to me before it happens, so that when it happens, you will have good reason to believe in me.”
[This post is taken from John Piper’s book, Love to the Uttermost, also available here.]