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… (Matthew 27:50-52a)
THE EARTHQUAKE OPENED GRAVES NEAR THE CROSS. Not all the graves; just the graves of many of the saints from the Jerusalem area. The earthquake and the opening of the graves coincided with three hours of mid-day darkness and the ripping of the sixty-foot veil in the Temple and Jesus’ penetrating cry of victory as He gave up His spirit into the hands of His Father.
ABOUT A MILLION PEOPLE HAD GATHERED in and around Jerusalem for the annual observance of Passover. These people came from the whole of the nation of Israel and from other countries around Israel. To them, the miracles at Calvary were overwhelming evidence that the hand of God was orchestrating these dramatic events. The Roman Centurion who commanded a hundred battle-hardened Roman soldiers concluded: “This is the Son of God!”
WHEN THE GRAVE WERE OPENED, we must realize that the tomb where they laid Jesus was not a typical burying place. Isaiah said: And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53:9) Jesus was crucified between two criminals and buried in a rich man’s grave, (Joseph of Arimathea).
THE GRAVES THAT WERE OPENED WERE NOT ELABORATE GRAVES like the new tomb Jesus was buried in. It had a stone that could be rolled in a stone trough to seal the entrance. It was designed to be opened and closed several times to admit the future burial of members of the family. Most people were buried in holes dug into the ground, just like today. The stone memorials that were laid on top of the common graves varied according the wealth of the family.
“Please note that the graves opened but no one came out of the graves at that time. No one would have broken the Sabbath to repair the opened graves. So, the opened graves lay there gaping open for crowds of people to see them. If they had been opened only to enable dead people to come out of them, would they not have been opened later? No, the stark appearance of these opened graves was an intensified witness of the occasion. An earthquake had opened certain graves and left other graves untouched. These graves contained the bodies of saints. The opened graves were one of the miracles of Calvary.
“WE HAVE THE RENDING OF ROCKS AND OPENING OF GRAVES. They are not the same thing. The rending of rocks involved force. The opening of the graves involved design. The rending of rocks gave no prophecy of the future. But the opening of the graves was a budding of the coming glory. In a few hours, dead people would come out of those graves. Clearly, the opening of the graves was an exhibition of a greater truth that coincided with several other things” (Nicholson, edited)
THE MOST THRILLING THING ABOUT THE OPENED GRAVES is the rest of the story that plays out when Jesus comes out of His grave. Keep in mind that a million people are in town witnessing these things. After the drama is over, they will go back home and spread their testimony for the rest of their lives. They will be talking with their children and handing down the story to their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren. This is truly, the greatest Passover! Ever! Tomorrow we will look at the rest of the story of the opened graves. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MARCH 28, 2018 – WEDNESDAY
A.M. Joshua 21-22 P.M. Luke 6:1-26
(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. (Acts 2:36)
Song for Today:
Then Came Sunday (3:38) (CMC ) (Choir)
You will need to turn it off after the song. It keeps on running. This is playing off Facebook and it shows. But the song is so good I used it anyway. A GREAT SONG and done well. (You will hear a good sermon if you have the time.)
You may need to adjust your volume control