Pastor Steve Ellison
As I write this on Good Friday, I am reminded of the original Good Friday. Because of what happened to Jesus of Nazareth, one might find it hard to consider the day as being good. In spite of the humiliating and horrifying treatment that Jesus received from men on that day (and the preceding night), one can still find ample reason to call this day good. Sinful man would still be staggering under the massive debt which is the penalty of sin. On this day, at the cross, Christ paid the debt that we owed and never could have paid on our own. Matthew 27 reports the event.
Verses 45-54 record four separate miracles that accompanied the greater miracle on the cross. There was total darkness over all the land from noon until 3:00 p.m. I suppose that the darkness symbolizes the fact that you and I will never understand exactly what Christ endured for our sin to be forgiven. Next, the four inch thick veil separating the Holy place from the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom. Not only do we have forgiveness but we also have personal access to the throne of God. No human mediator and no sacrifices are needed. The tombs around Jerusalem were opened and many saints were raised from the dead. These resurrected saints appeared to many people in Jerusalem. When we who are dead in our sins are given the gift of life, we are called to appear as witnesses of the life found in Christ. All that is recorded about these saints is that they simply appeared. The appearance of one who once was dead but now is alive is enough to give glory to God and lead others to faith in Christ.
These verses record another miracle. Verse 51 says the earth shook and the rocks split. Verse 54 tells us that it was indeed an earthquake. Earthquakes occur as natural events. This one was different. I said in the previous paragraph that Matthew 27 records 4 miracles in addition to the cross. That is not exactly correct. There was at least one more miracle; there was an earthquake in the centurion’s heart. There may have been earthquakes in the hearts of his companions. Verse 54 says, “Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!" NASU A true miracle occurred in the centurion’s heart. This day was like any other day to that Roman soldier. He simply arose from his night’s sleep and went to work. In his mind, he was just doing his normal day’s work, standing guard at an ordinary crucifixion. Then when he saw what was going on around him, an earthquake took place in his heart.
Perhaps you have trouble believing in supernatural events, i.e. miracles. Maybe you have trouble picturing the land going dark for three hours, and heavy curtain being torn from top to bottom, and people being raised from the dead, and earthquakes occurring on demand. If you have trouble believing in those, you will have trouble believing in the earthquake in the centurion’s heart. The earthquake in a person’s heart is a greater miracle. When God moves on a man, forgiving his sin, imputing righteousness to his account, and adopting him, that is a greater miracle. Has there been an earthquake in your heart? Do yourself a favor, check into that. ….…….…..firstname.lastname@example.org