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 THE GRAVES near the cross. Not all the graves; just the graves of many of the saints who had recently died in Jerusalem and would be recognized by people who lived in Jerusalem. The job of these freshly resurrected people was to be recognized as formerly dead people. People who died in a former generation would not be recognized by present generation people.
AN EARTHQUAKE THAT OPENED ONLY THE GRAVES OF SAINTS and not everyone in general, would be a miracle. This gets into the mathematical law of compound probability. The chances of an earthquake selecting certain graves to open is slim to none.
ONLY PEOPLE WHO LIVED IN JERUSALEM would be buried in the Jerusalem cemetery. People were buried in their own community where they lived. Jerusalem people would be buried in Jerusalem. When they came out of their graves in Jerusalem, it follows that they showed themselves alive to people who lived in Jerusalem; people who would recognize them; their families and friends who lived in Jerusalem.
THEN, WHY DID JOSEPH BUILD HIS TOMB IN JERUSALEM, since he lived in Arimathea? Warren Wiersbe comments on this. “It is not likely that Joseph prepared that tomb for himself. He was a wealthy man and certainly would not want to be buried so near a place of execution. He prepared that tomb for Jesus, and he selected a site near Golgotha so that he and Nicodemus could bury Christ’s body quickly.
“JOSEPH AND NICODEMUS COULD VERY WELL HAVE BEEN IN THE GARDEN waiting for Jesus to die. When they took Him from the cross, they defiled themselves and were not able to eat the Passover. But, what difference did it make? They had found the Lamb of God!” (Wiersbe)
THE JERUSALEM PEOPLE WERE THOROUGHLY BLENDED TOGETHER with people from all over Israel. So, when the “dead” people began to find their friends, news of those encounters spread throughout the million people in and around Jerusalem. Can you imagine that scene?
THE EARTHQUAKE AND THE OPENING OF THE GRAVES followed the three hours of mid-day darkness and the ripping of the huge veil in the Temple and Jesus’ penetrating cry of victory as He gave up His spirit into the hands of His Father.
FOR THE ONE MILLION PASSOVER PEOPLE IN JERUSALEM for the annual observance of Passover, these things were overwhelming evidence that the hand of God was there. Not only were the Jews impressed; the Roman Centurion who commanded a hundred battle-hardened Roman soldiers concluded: “This is the Son of God!”
WHEN THE GRAVES 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. Jesus’ tomb 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 graves varied according the wealth of the family.
“PLEASE NOTE THAT THE GRAVES OPENED BUT NO ONE CAME OUT 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 greatgrandchildren. This is truly, the greatest Passover! Ever! Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
APRIL 16, 2019 – TUESDAY
A.M. 1 Samuel 19-21 P.M. Luke 15:11-32
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verse to Memorize:
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Acts 17:30-31)
Song for Today:
Then Came Sunday (3:38) (Calvary Memorial Church)
You may need to adjust your volume control
TWO THINGS THAT SELL THE MOST OVER-THE-COUNTER PRODUCTS, are digestion and elimination. For digestion, drink enough water (half-hour before eating) to make good saliva for chewing. This produces amylase, a digestive enzyme that starts digestion of some foods in the mouth. The next step is to take the time to chew your food until it’s easy to swallow as a paste without “washing it down.” This, alone, may add some years to your life and save you some big bucks down the road. For elimination, drink water, get in some walking, and figure how you are going to get 30 grams of fiber down the hatch to help your gut work like it’s designed to work.
MILLER'S RAW WHEAT BRAN IS DIRT-CHEAP and easy to get down. Two heaping tbsp bran stirred into four heaping tbsp of unsweetened applesauce will give you 10+ grams of fiber. Two heaping tbsp of chia seeds or ground flax seed in some kind of liquid will give you another 8-10 grams of fiber. The rest will easily be supplied with fruits and vegetables. There’s no fiber in meat, dairy, or eggs. Adding fiber to your diet will add some gas to your day for 2-3 weeks until the bacteria in your gut adjusts to it. Take a good probiotic daily for a month and then once a week. Live yogurt is good but not as good as the capsule of non-dairy bacteria. Our guts work like our septic tank. (Rid-X is NOT good for your gut.)
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (3John 1:2)