Does History Tell us that Jesus Predicted His Own Death?
The clear answer is "Yes," and the rationale is provided in a new article hosted at Tektonics.org. From the conclusion:
The passion predictions of Jesus' death and/or subsequent vindication are very well attested throughout the Gospel Tradition. They are found in several well-attested Scriptural allusions made by Jesus. They are found in cryptic sayings such as in the saying of the Temple being destroyed and raised within 3 days as well as in the saying about the Sign of Jonah. They are found in one of Jesus' parables (i.e. that of the Wicked Tenants) and other riddles. They are found within the context of memorable historical events like the Last Supper. And finally, they are found in sayings which detail the events to come in quite explicit terms (i.e. Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:34 and par.). We have found that there is a very substantial body of evidence pointing to the authenticity of most (if not all) of these predictions. Moreover, we have shown in the opening section of this article that there is sufficient evidence from contemporary Judaism that supports Jesus' mode of thinking regarding an atoning death, and that there exists a reasonable possibility that the belief in a suffering Messiah predates Christianity. There can be no doubt then that Jesus expected to die and believed that his death would have great eschatological import.