Mathew 27:45-56 (Read)
The story of Easter is the most amazing stories ever told.
According to those who planned and crucified Jesus, it was meant to be a story of shame and defeat. It is so amazing how God delivered victory in the most amazing ways that even those who had been charged to watch over Jesus, they testified that surely, He was who He said He was all along. ‘The Son of God’ vs 54 says, “When the Centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, Surely He was the Son of God”.
For probably the first time in hundreds of years, Easter is going to be celebrated by many in our homes and probably calling on the saving power of the Lord Jesus to save us from the pandemic that has hit the world. The truth is to many of us it had become an opportunity to party, go on holiday, visit family and friends without even giving due regard to what Easter is all about.
The victory hour
For three hours the world was thrown into darkness when a serious spiritual war was taking place. The spiritual war was about your sins and my sins with the Lord fighting over our condemnation and paying the price with His life so that we may be released from the power of sin and death.
The weight of sin caused Jesus to cry out “Eloi. Eloi lama sabakithani; My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!”
This was not a cry of defeat or giving up. It was a cry over the weight that you and I should have been carrying. David cried in the same way in Psalm 22:1 asking God to intervene in the weight of his suffering.
The pressure was on Jesus over the world’s burden of sin. He literally became our substitute; He was made sin, He was made our curse, He endured God’s wrath over sin for our sake in His own person. It was an awful moment, the iniquity of us all was laid on His shoulders.
Isa 53:4-10 says, He took up our infirmities, He carried our sorrows, He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed…the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted; He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and the rich though He had done no violence… “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and to cause Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes His life a guilt offering, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
What can we say to such love?
How will we respond to Him?
Let us look at the miracles that happened at that hour when our Lord died for us.
- The curtain of the temple was cut into two: “At that moment, the curtain of the temple was cut into two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.” The temple had three main places. The courts, the holy place and the most holy place. The holy place only the priests could enter. The most holy place only the high priest could enter and even then, only once a year to atone the sins of the nation. At this hour, the curtain separating these places was torn from top to bottom symbolizing that the barrier between men and God was removed and all people are free to approach God through the Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. Heb 9:11-12;15. “When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by the means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the most holy place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. For this reason, Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance-now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from sins committed under the first covenant. Finally, the true high priest has come to bring to us salvation.
- The tombs broke open: “The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’s resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.” Jesus demonstrated the power of resurrection. Even before He was resurrected from the grave, the power of death could not withstand His presence. Jesus demonstrated His victory through the shaking of the earth, the rocks split, and the earth released the dead. Jesus came to set us free and not even death can hold those he has set free.
- Salvation came to men: The first man to receive the saving grace of our Lord Jesus was the thief on the cross. Luke 23:39-43 One of the criminals hurled insults at Jesus asking Him to save Himself and save them but the other one rebuked him and said to Jesus “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” This thief saw with spiritual eyes through faith of a coming kingdom that not even the disciples of Jesus could see. He had faith on a dying man when many could not have faith in a miracle worker! He did not see the shame that Jesus as subjected to, but he saw the coming glory of the king of kings.
The next lot of people that saw and believed were the Centurion and the guards that were mocking Jesus just a couple of hours earlier. They must have been overwhelmed by the darkness. They surely experienced the earthquake and saw the dead rise. The bible says they were terrified and exclaimed “Surely He was the Son of God!” It is ok for us to accept Christ when we are gripped by fear and uncertainty. Even when we have lived a life of rebellion, He will still accept us whatever time we make the decision. However, that moment is not guaranteed. We would better make the decision to follow Christ now when we hear the gospel.
Which character do you represent in the crucifixion? There were His disciples that followed Him for three and a half years and then abandoned Him at His moment of distress; there was Judas who betrayed Him; there were those who tried Him and crucified Him. Then there were those who spectated from the sidelines, those who mocked Him. There were even the thieves at the cross, one who insulted Him and the other who reached out to Him. There are those who guarded Him but believed when they saw His awesome power.
The beauty is whoever you represent, Jesus loves you and He died for you. He is willing to accept you if only you could believe in Him. In three days, He will rise again. Amen