Sign of Divine Presence and Involvement
Text: Matthew 28 : 1 - 20
All the Gospels paid attention to the resurrection of Jesus – for obvious reasons. Let us take time to ponder Matthew’s account of the resurrection of Jesus.
“Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
And behold, there was a great earthquake…”
Strange signs had occurred at the death of Jesus. Let us recall what Matthew noted earlier in his Gospel, so that the mention of an earthquake would not be surprising.
1. A Strange Darkness
“Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour
There was darkness over all the land.”
2. The Temple Veil Torn
“Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two
from top to bottom…”
“And the earth quaked, and the rocks were split.”
4. Graves Opened and the Dead Raised
“And the graves were opened; and many bodies
Of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.”
What is the significance of noting all these things? Surely, we must see God’s Divine Hand in all these phenomena! These were surely signs from heaven to display the majestic power of God! He was not going to allow anyone to think that the death of Jesus was just an ordinary event! God was involved in the thick of things! To all who were observant and God fearing, these signs indicated the Presence and Power of God. But only to those who had faith and depth of understanding could these phenomena be interpreted correctly.
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS FORETOLD
It should not surprise us that God created an earth tremor to indicate His Presence and power! It was God who had planned man’s redemption. That plan included the suffering of Jesus. However, that plan did not stop there! The resurrection of Jesus was in His mind all the time. Let us ponder over what Isaiah wrote on the subject of His suffering, death and resurrection (even though that word was not utilized).
“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
He shall see the labour of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And he bore the sins of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.”
1. The Suffering of Jesus
In this passage we are reminded that the suffering of Jesus was all part of God’s plan of redemption. The significance of His death may be noted thus:-
a) As an offering for sin.
b) Jesus bore our iniquities on Himself when He died on the cross for us.
c) His death had tremendous intercessory power for us sinners.
2. The Resurrection of the Messiah foretold clearly
a) “He shall see His seed”
b) “He shall prolong His days”
c)” He shall see the labour of His soul and be satisfied”
d) “I will divide Him a portion with the great”
e) “He shall divide the spoil with the strong”
Each of the above phrases would have significance only in the context of Jesus being alive. But He had already died on the cross. He had already been entombed? The obvious answer must lie in a special act of God! He would raise Jesus from the dead! It would be the simplest thing for God to create an earthquake. That demonstration of power would be an undisputable fact that He was involved in the resurrection of Jesus!