The death of Jesus
READ Matthew 27:45-56
Three hours of darkness engulf the scene (45). Darkness often symbolizes judgment and endings. The Gospels together record seven sayings of Jesus from the cross. Mathew records just one of them (46). The others can be found in Luke and John (Luke 23:34, 43, 46; John 19:26-28, 30). Jesus cries out, using the opening words of Psalm 22. it is a shout of absolute desolation. The psalm contains many relevant points of references and actually ends on a fairly upbeat note of confidence in God, with the nations of the world paying homage to Him. But here we seethe unique suffering of Jesus as He carries the sins of that world (Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21). As Jesus bears the wrath of God in behalf of so many (26:28), He suffers a rupture in His relationship with God the Father for the first time. Perhaps this is what Jesus foresaw in Gethsemane, though the use of “My” does seem to imply some continuance in the relationship. The crowd remains uncomprehending (47-49).
Two surprising incidents accompany Jesus’ death.
- The temple curtain, which separated the people from God’s symbolic
presence in the Most High Place, is torn in two (51). Only an act of enormous supernatural power could have accomplished this as it was thick and heavy, and very long. The barrier between God and man had been removed (Hebrews 10:19-25).
- Rock tombs are burst open by the ferocious earthquake (52, 53). Human and
cosmic destinies are linked (Genesis 3:17-19; Romans 8:19-23). Jesus’ death precipitates a foretaste of the general resurrection expected in the last days. Jesus’ death and resurrection are two sides of the same coin. No wonder the centurion was terrified into making his acclamation (54)!
PRAY ‘What language shall I borrow; To thank Thee, dearest Friend; For this, Thy dying sorrow; Thy pity without end?’ (Bernard of Clairvaux)