The Resurrected Saints
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. (Matthew 27:50-53) (Today’s picture is of tombs.)
MOST PEOPLE WERE BURIED IN THE COMMUNITY where they were born and spent their lives. The people in and around Jerusalem were buried in the valleys all around the city, outside the city walls. We read:
“THE JEWS WOULD NOT BURY THEIR DEAD INSIDE THE CITY WALLS. Jerusalem is surrounded by tombs; tombs to the west in the Hinnom Valley; tombs to the south where the Hinnom and Kidron Valleys meet; tombs to the north and tombs to the east in the Kidron Valley. Eight hundred tombs from the time of Herod have been discovered within a 3-mile radius around the city.
HELLENISTIC CULTURE INFLUENCED THE BUILDING OF ELABORATE TOMBS, and this practice continued into the days of the New Testament. Jesus spoke about the tombs when He addressed the religious leaders on the Temple Mount. See more here. (Be sure to follow the link above and scroll down…fantastic pictures of elaborate sepulchers from ancient days in Jerusalem. These pictures give new meaning to the words of Jesus’ day.)
WOE UNTO YOU, SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, HYPOCRITES! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, (Matthew 23:27-29)
WHEN JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD, many of the dead saints arose also. We know they were buried outside the city because when they arose from the dead, they “went into the holy city and appeared unto many.”
ALL THE PEOPLE IN THE CEMETERY DID NOT RISE FROM THE DEAD. Only “saints” rose from their graves. If you open the link above and look at the vast collection of graves, you can see what it would have looked like if all the graves had been opened. No, it’s more likely that only the graves opened from which was going to come the dead when Jesus rose from the dead.
JESUS WAS BURIED IN A RICH MAN'S GRAVE, Joseph of Arimathea. When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. (Matthew 27:57-60)
IN SUMMARY: There were many, many graves all around Jerusalem because it was a very old city. The earthquake opened graves; perhaps they were 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.
WHEN THE DEAD 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.
WHY, THEN, DID JOSEPH BUILD HIS "OWN NEW 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 what the scene must have been?
THE EARTHQUAKE AND THE OPENING OF THE GRAVES coincided with 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 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! Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
APRIL 17, 2019 – WEDNESDAY
A.M. 1 Samuel 22-24 P.M. Luke 16:1-18
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verses 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)
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:
Then Came Sunday (3:38) (Calv.Mem.Chur. Choir)
You may need to adjust your volume control
Tablets, Capsules, and Jell Capsules. Most tablets are harder to digest than capsules but recently some tablets are made to crumble easily, even in your mouth. Generally, we will digest more of the product if it’s in capsule form and faster. Some tablets are so big you have to crunch them with your jaw teeth or a set of pliers. Desiccated liver tablets are big tablets. I crunch them with my jaw teeth and wash them down.
Some B-12 tablets are slow-dissolving under the tongue so the product is absorbed under the tongue and by-passes the stomach. These days with so much acid reflux going on that scars up the esophagus and shrinks it, (you may have to have it stretched) we need to pay attention to the size and difficulty of swallowing medications (meds). Have a glass of water in hand before attempting to swallow MEDS of any kind except for the under-the-tongue kind. Ω