Sunday, November 15, 2009
This has to be the Son of God!
It was a terrifying day!
45 -46From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around mid-afternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"
Jesus is being crucified. The world is plunged into darkness.
47 -49Some bystanders who heard him said, "He's calling for Elijah." One of them ran and got a sponge soaked in sour wine and lifted it on a stick so he could drink. The others joked, "Don't be in such a hurry. Let's see if Elijah comes and saves him."
50But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last."
Jesus dies, and some astonishing things happen.
51 -53At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom."
I am quoting. "What did this mean, this event that was so important that three of the Gospel writers mentioned it?
The temple was divided into two portions, an outer room called the Holy Place in which a number of priests served, and an inner room called the Most Holy Place or Holy of Holies. This inner room represented God's presence. It was so sacred that the only person allowed in was the high priest, and then only on one day of the year to make atonement for the sins of himself and the people.
This sacred room, the Holy of Holies, was separated from the rest of the temple by an elaborate and beautifully embroidered curtain. According to Jewish descriptions of the temple, this curtain was truly massive-measuring some 30 feet wide, 60 feet high and three inches thick. Its tearing in two from top to bottom at Jesus' death was a shocking and bewildering event! How could God let something like that happen within His temple?
Yet God was not only behind this, He deliberately tore the curtain to make a point -that mankind's sins, which had cut us off from Him (Isaiah 59:2), could now be forgiven through Jesus Christ's shed blood.
Comparing how the high priest had previously only been able to pass through the curtain once a year to offer atonement for sins, (Hebrews 10:19-22) explains that a new High Priest, Jesus Christ, through the sacrifice of Himself superseded this ritual for all time and gives mankind direct access to God"
So that was astonishing. I imagine it made a huge sound. It certainly made a huge impact! But that wasn't all!
"There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. What's more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised. (After Jesus' resurrection, they left the tombs, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.)"
Can you imagine being there? The world goes dark? (This was before electricity) The veil is ripped top to bottom? There is an earthquake, with rocks splitting open? Dead people are raised? This was earth shaking! Hair raising! Scary!
What was the conclusion of the pagan Roman guard and his guys?
54 "The captain of the guard and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and everything else that was happening, were scared to death. They said, "This has to be the Son of God!"
Two thousand years later, 1.3 billion of us are still saying,
"This has to be the Son of God!"