Life giving Love.
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!" 55 There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, 56 among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
It has been dark as night for the last three hours - right in the middle of the day! At about the ninth hour (3 PM) Jesus cries out and dies (Matthew 27:45-46). The curtain in the temple that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom by the invisible hand of God. Only the High Priest was able to go into the Holy of Holies once a year to make atonement for Israel. By tearing the curtain from top to bottom, the Lord made a lasting statement, Jesus paid the penalty for sin once for all and everyone who repents and believes the gospel could enter into fellowship with their Holy God.
A great earthquake shook the ground and split the rocks when Jesus died. The tombs were opened and many bodies of the saints were raised from the dead in their natural bodies. Think about the reports that began to be spread around and were heard by the centurion keeping watch over Jesus. He and his men were filled with awe and mouthed their belief, "Jesus was truly the Son of God."
This event is a historical fact and would have had a great impact on anyone in Jerusalem at the time. Jesus' death on the cross was a "noticed" event. After Jesus was raised from the dead, the people raised to a natural life came into town with their bodies fully restored, completely healed and alive.
Imagine the stir this would have caused when they told their story. Just dream with me a bit. Maybe a father returned to his family. Maybe a daughter to her still grieving parents and siblings. Maybe a grandmother to her extended family. WOW! Imagine the story, "It was dark and then the grave opened wide. The sun came out and I worshipped God with many others in the graveyard. After a couple days, after Jesus rose from the dead and we worshipped Him, we all went into the city to find you and tell you our story so you can know Jesus is God too."
Note: The text simply says many of the saints (followers of Jesus) were raised from the dead the during the darkness (on Friday), yet they did not come out of the graveyard until after the resurrection (on Sunday).
Many of the women who had served Jesus observed all these things from a distance. We observe them from a greater distance, but with greater clarity given us by the Holy Spirit. We know two greater things happened the day of these events. You might be wondering, what is greater than people being raised from the dead?
Are you experiencing freedom from the penalty and power of sin and Satan?
You can by repenting of your sin and believing the gospel - Jesus died on the cross for our sin, rose again on the third day and is Lord (Mark 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 10:9).
May you know Jesus is God. May the life giving stories of many people transformed by Jesus impact you deeply. May you continue to be in awe and worship Jesus everyday, for some of you starting today.
Jesus paid the greatest price to give you life.
Three key questions to ask as we prayerfully read the scriptures:
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