I woke up this morning thinking about the fact that I couldn't come up with any specific Old Testament prophecies forecasting the resurrection of Jesus. I don't know why that thought was in my mind, and I wasn't sure I was right. So I did some research. Sure enough, I found out what I already knew about the Messianic prophecies: they predicted all sorts of things about the Messiah from His virgin birth, to the location of His birth, His suffering, His substitutionary sacrifice, His unbroken bones, etc. etc. But there are only three Old Testament references that kind of, sort of, if you squint real hard, have to do with resurrection, but not specifically the Messiah's resurrection. They lean more toward the idea of a general resurrection.
Why is this? I wondered. Here's my simple guess. Some things are just so incredible no one could even conceive of it until they saw it happen. A baby born to a virgin? At least your mind can grasp it. The Messiah coming from an insignificant little town? Not mind-blowing. A totally dead human being coming back to life? Well...of course that's possible. But that's not what resurrection means. Not the kind that happened to Jesus. His was a new existence, not just resumption of the same life, with the same body. His was a different body, with some similarities, but other characteristics that couldn't and still can't be fully explained. Incorruptible flesh that could pass through walls!? One day we're going to find out, because we will be like Him. But until then, it's guess work. The disciples didn't even know what they were dealing with, and we think some Old Testament prophecy is going to make sense to anyone?
In the meantime, I think it's altogether fitting that on Easter Sunday we celebrate not only the historic resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, but the fact that this is God's nature. He is always at work around, in, and through us doing incredible work. Some of it makes sense. But some of what God has going on is unimaginable! I think that's why the apostle Paul scraped together a couple Old Testament phrases and (according to scholars) a notable partial quote from a non-Biblical source to come up with his creative attempt at explaining how God works: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Go ahead. Look for it in the Old Testament. You won't find anything but bits and pieces. Some things God does are unprecedented, unpredictable and unimaginable. You can't believe them... until they happen.