The Problem of Mark 8:31

It’s the oddest thing. When we turn to the earliest written gospel, the Gospel According to Mark, we find that the God Jesus prophesied his own death and resurrection on at least three different occasions: in Mark 8:31, 9:31, and 10:33.

What is peculiar, is the fact that Jesus predicts He would rise from the dead three days AFTER He is put to death in both 8:31 and 9:31. This prophecy is also repeated in Matthew 27:63 as well. Technically, that would make the day of Jesus’ resurrection, not Sunday, but either Monday or even Tuesday, based on how one computes “after three days.”

This is an extraordinary prophecy because it contradicts Church tradition,  Matthew 16:21, Luke 9:22, and their parallel passages elsewhere in the New Testament. It is a “given” that Jesus arose dawn Sunday. Or “ON the third day” as stated in Matthew and Luke. But that is clearly not what Mark 8:31 and its parallel passages have to say

So what is to account for such blatant contradiction? How is it that Jesus predicts one thing in Mark, and something completely different in Matthew and Luke?[1] How is one to reconcile both accounts?

The fact of the matter is no one—at least to this  writer’s knowledge—has really tried to. The problem of Mark 8:31 has been ignored by every Christian academic I’ve encountered thus far. Just try  finding a credible Christian apologist who’s taken the problem head-on.

Good luck with that!

Matthew 27.63 Cropped - 2

So that leaves the problem unresolved.  And as it now stands, a blatant contradiction Christian commentators have yet to fully come to terms with.


[1] But see also Matthew 12:40 where the Evangelist has Jesus predicting He would be “buried in the heart of the earth for three days AND three nights.” Thus arising from the dead on Monday. Contrast that with Chapters 16:21; 17:21-22, and 20:17-19!


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