In Fulfillment of the Scripture!

John 20:8-9
Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that He must rise from the dead.

When people speak of Jesus “fulfilling” the Scripture, they often have in mind the notion that the Old Testament has a series of Nostradamus-like “messianic predictions” and that everybody understood exactly what these were.  According to this scenario, all the attentive first-century Jew had to do was follow Jesus around with his Messianic Prophecy Checklist and say, “If this guy is Messiah, then according to the Checklist, His mother will be a virgin, He heal the sick, cleanse the Temple, and die and rise from the dead.”  But, of course, nobody was expecting anything of the sort.  And the reason is simple: people didn’t see Jesus fulfilling the Scripture until after He did so.  It was a case of 20/20 hindsight.  With a Great Collective Apostolic Forehead Smack, the early Church looked at the life of Christ and only realized after it was all over that He was hidden in plain view in the Old Testament and they had not seen it.  That was why the Risen Christ had to practically rub the disciples’ noses in their own Bibles on the Emmaus Road and say, “‘O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Lk 24:25-27).

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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