The Six Miracles of Calvary –
Opened Graves - Part 2
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. (Mat 27:50-53
The opened graves were meant for display. They remained open from the time Jesus took His last breath until after His resurrection. When Jesus rose from the dead, so did many saints rise from the dead and came out of those opened graves. What kind of resurrections were these? The writer of Hebrews speaks of “a better resurrection:” Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: (Heb 11:35)
Do you see these two different resurrections tucked away in this one verse? “To life again” and “a better resurrection.” Heb 11:35 refers to some who were stretched around a drum and beaten to death. But, if they renounced their faith, they were offered mercy that amounted to “resurrection from certain death.” Some would not renounce their faith and died on the drum, trusting they would experience a better resurrection than being rescued from the drum of death.
This reminds us of another temporary resurrection some received in the Bible. Some women received their dead raised to life again.
Elijah was staying with a widow and her son at Zarephath, and Elijah raised her son from the dead, (1Kings17:22-24). Elisha performed a miracle that enabled an older widow and her husband to have a child. After several years, the child died and Elisha raised him from the dead (2Kings 4:27-37). Jesus raised a widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:12-16). Peter raised Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:41). Paul raised a young man from the dead when he fell out of the third loft while Paul was preaching long. (Acts 20:9,10)
Did Lazarus and these other resurrected people die again? Many Bible students believe that these who were raised from the dead by Elijah, Elisha, Jesus, Peter, and Paul died again. This is based upon : But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (1Co 15:20) Jesus was the first one in all the history of humanity who was raised from the dead with an eternal body. Unlike Lazarus, Jesus could pass through the stone door of His grave. He could appear in a room and disappear. He lifted from the earth and disappeared into the sky as a select group watched Him. He will return in like manner, some day.
Jesus’ resurrected body was far different from the body that died on the cross. The laws of physics did not bind and restrict his resurrected body as we are and as He was before His resurrection. None of those who were raised from the dead were said to have passed through a wall, to have suddenly appeared in a room or disappear from a room. Keeping these things in mind will help us know the difference between Jesus’ resurrected body and the resurrected body of all the others. Jesus was the first and only one to rise from the dead with an eternal body.
When Jesus came out of His grave, the huge stone that weighed more than a ton had not yet been removed. It was removed soon after He came out of the grave to show the disciples that the tomb was empty. An angel came down from heaven to do it. But, when the stone was being moved, Jesus was not there. “On the other hand, when Lazarus was raised, he was called back into his former body and Jesus commanded those at the grave site to: “Take ye away the stone.” (Nicholson)
We may safely assume that all the others who were raised from the dead, were called back into their natural, earthly bodies. Today, we would say that their bodies were “revived” but not “resurrected.”
The opened graves and resurrected bodies of many dead saints was a symbol to those living or visiting in the city of Jerusalem at Passover. It was a dynamic expression of the power of the cross and the resurrected Savior! The earth had been darkened in the middle of the day for three hours. Everyone had experienced the earthquake. It was no secret that the veil in the Temple had been split. The hushed testimony of the priests in the room with the veil was now oozing out into the population. We assume that the dead saints that came out of the opened graves were people who recently died and were known by the people who lived in Jerusalem.
As the “many” appeared to “many” in and around the city of Jerusalem, word went like the wind throughout the million people who were gathered in the city of Jerusalem for Passover. Word was getting out that the powerful Roman guard that had crucified Jesus was awed and humbled by what they had witnessed. The price of our redemption had been paid. The way was open for sinful men to approach God through the shed blood of God’s only begotten Son.
Those who would submit to Him as Lord and receive His offer of forgiveness would be eternally saved. No one can ever live good enough or be good enough to be saved. But, through Christ’s death on the cross, all may be saved who want to be. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Rom. 10:13; Joel 2:32)
Just as I am, without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me, And that thou bidst me come to Thee, O Lamb of God I come, I come.
Read Through the Bible in a Year
APRIL 28, 2017 – FRIDAY
A.M. 2 Sam 19-20 P.M. Luke 21:20-38
(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:
Just As I Am (3:30) (Acapella Choir)
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