47Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah.48One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink.49But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”
50Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit.51At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart,52and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead.53They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.
54The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”
55And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance.56Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee.
How does one comment on a moment like this? Jesus, the Son of God, maker of the universe, dies for you and me. It is impossible to say anything that will do it justice so I won’t try. I will try to explain a few of the things that are mentioned that we modern readers will find confusing.
The curtain of the sanctuary being torn from top to bottom is monumental. You see, in the temple there was an area called the “Holy of Holies” and it was there that the presence of God resided among his people. That area was only entered once a year by the High Priest because all men were sinful and could not enter into God’s presence. This area was separated from the rest of the temple by a huge curtain. According to Jesephus, a Jewish historian of the time, this curtain was woven 4 inches thick and couldn’t be torn apart by teams of horses. It was torn by God (from top to bottom) because through Jesus death for our since we now can come into the very presence of God.
I have always found the passage about the people rising from the dead very confusing and still do. Many theologians think the resurrection of the dead actually started at this moment. I simply accept that I don’t understand this.
The Roman officer and soldiers declare what the Jewish leaders tried to deny: Jesus was the Son of God. It is so like God to reveal himself to the humble and unlearned and hide himself from those who think they are wise.
Father, I will never comprehend all that this moment truly is. Help me to take it into my life and my heart and to live only the life that is mine through Jesus’ death. *obbs*