Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened;
And many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly, this was the Son of God. (Matthew 27:50-54)
THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST was draped in a garland of miracles that trumpeted the voice of God to the world: “This is My Son! I have given Him in death and raised Him from the dead to redeem you from your sins! I have written my love for you in red! Look at what I have done for you! I love you!”
AT NOON WHILE JESUS WAS ON THE CROSS, there suddenly came a darkness that hushed the birds and stopped all commerce and labor for three hours and then lifted; Not an eclipse of the sun which lasts only eight minutes and cannot occur on the full of the moon. Jewish Passover was always on the full of the moon.
AT THE END OF PASSOVER DAY, at the time of the evening sacrifice, the priceless 60’ veil inside the temple suddenly ripped in two from top to bottom while priests who were inside, looked on in stunning disbelief. The massive stone walls of the Temple did not buckle from the earthquake.
THE WALLS HELD FIRM AND THE VEIL RIPPED independently of the earthquake.
At that instant, Jesus made a loud cry: “It is finished!” and lowered his head on his chest. It was a cry of triumph! He had finished what He was born to do; to die as the sacrificial lamb for the sins of the whole world. The earthquake broke layers of rock in two and opened certain graves. Then all was quiet. The priests went on with the evening sacrifice.
THE NEXT DAY THE SUN ROSE AS THOUGH NOTHING HAD HAPPENED. The Jewish leadership thought they had gotten rid of the itinerant preacher who had caused them so much trouble. The Passover continued (also known as the Feast of Unleavened bread) and the million or so people who had come to Jerusalem were having the most unusual Passover Celebration they had ever experienced. It was now into the third day of Passover.
THROUGHOUT THE CITY THERE WAS A LOW-KEY CONVERSATION about the darkness that had imprisoned every one of them and the tale of the veil being ripped in two. The earthquake had frightened them all and now they could see several places of damage from the earth quake.
THEN IT HAPPENED! In the crowded city where they were packed in and had trouble moving, there suddenly appeared many people dressed in grave clothes moving among them, pushing against them, moving through the crowds. They were hungry and were asking people to share a piece of bread with them.
THE CONVERSATIONS SUDDENLY CHANGED as it was noised throughout the city that people who were known to have died recently were mingling among the crowds asking for food and people were astonished at what they were seeing. They could not believe their own eyes! They could not believe their own ears! Who are these people among us in grave clothes?
ADDED TO THIS STRANGE DRAMA OF THE LIVING DEAD was the rumor, now running wild, that the Galilean preacher who was crucified on the middle cross, was alive! The Jewish leaders were completely baffled as to what to do. It had blown up in their faces! It would now be worse than if they had left him alone. The older leaders were desperate to concoct any kind of story to quell the firestorm of excitement in the streets about this dead Jew who had come back from the grave and all these other dead people among them! What were they to do? Nothing! They could do nothing!
AT LAST, PASSOVER (also known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread) was over and a million people began to slowly move out of the city trying to find their traveling group for the journey home. And what did they talk about? What do you think they talked about? Some were home after walking a few miles and many thousands of them would take several days to travel a hundred miles or 150 miles back home. They had much to tell the folks at home.
THE STRANGEST STORIES ANYONE HAD EVER HEARD were going to be the center of conversations for months to come. God had spoken in a way He had never spoken before. In fifty days, many would return to Jerusalem for Pentecost and another chapter of events would be unleashed upon those who made the journey. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
March 21, 2017 – WEDNESDAY
A.M. Joshua 4-6 P.M. Luke 1:57-80
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Memory Verse This Month:
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Act 2:36)
Song for Today:
What a Lovely Name (3:59) – (Vestal G. and Gaither Group)
I don’t recall any songs written about the earthquake at the crucifixion of Jesus. So, we’ll sing about Jesus. Here is a favorite in the south (as well as in some northern cities where southerners moved to work in manufacturing.) The singing conventions of a hundred years ago generated a movement that wrote and sang many songs and sold millions of Southern Gospel song books.
In thousands of churches, these songs dominate the music. First sung by quartets, then by church choirs, and then by the congregations. This is one of those songs. Vestal Goodman’s strong voice is a favorite in singing the “heart” songs of the south. She has a gift for stirring the saints. In these troubled days, we need to look at Jesus, our hope, and our help.
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