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. . . And Then, What Happened?, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
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November 10, 2021 7:05 am

. . . And Then, What Happened?, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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November 10, 2021 7:05 am

The King’s Commission: A Study of Matthew 21–28

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What makes the Passion Week of Jesus so significant?

Today from Chuck Swindoll. Do you realize you do not need someone else to represent you when you go before the Lord? You do not need to go between other than Jesus Himself. We go to God through Christ because we now have that kind of open relationship thanks to the veil being torn. It might seem out of step that our study in Matthew features the crucifixion of Jesus during a season when we're wrapping up to Christmas, but in reality the timing is perfect. You see, while Christmas represents the historic moment when Jesus broke onto the world stage, His mission, even as a baby, was pointing to the cross. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll teaches from a passage in Matthew that reinforces this truth as we receive a first-hand account about the events that immediately followed after Jesus' final breath.

Chuck titled today's message, And Then What Happened? Having journeyed these 84 times now through the book of Matthew, I've really come to fall in love with Jesus all over again. I've come to appreciate new dimensions of His life. I've come to admire His responses, which are always so filled with restraint, for He, being God, could have at any moment simply wiped out those who stood against Him or spoke against Him, but He didn't.

Always treating them with courtesy and kindness and mercy. We learned so much from that. But today, for the first time, we read of Him after He has died. His body is limp and lifeless. And you wonder what there could be from God's Word that could instruct us around the dead remains of Jesus. Oh, He will be raised, and we all want to race to that resurrection morning, more than anyone.

But we won't do that today. We'll linger at death's scene. We'll watch as He's being embalmed, as they did in those days, and as He's placed in a tomb. The tomb is sealed with a stone, and those who loved Him walked away, many thinking they would never see Him again.

Matthew captures the scene in the last verses of chapter 27, beginning at verse 50, where Jesus breathes His last. By the way, all four of the Gospel writers clearly declare He died. For if you haven't a death, you have no resurrection from the dead. Many a skeptic denies that He even died, but that He feigned death, or He swooned into an unconscious state and then revived.

But He died. And then we will see what follows in these verses. We'll be looking at verses 50 through 66.

I'll be reading from the New Living Translation as you find your place to Matthew 27, 50. Then Jesus shouted again, and He released His Spirit. At that moment, the curtain in the sanctuary of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus' resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. The 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.

Verse 57. As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea, who had become a follower of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock.

Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching. The next day on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive, after three days I will rise from the dead. So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead.

Why, if that happens, we'll be worse off than we were at first. Pilate replied, take guards and secure it the best you can. So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it. You're listening to Insight for Living.

To study the book of Matthew with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to insightworld.org slash studies. And now the message from Chuck titled, And Then What Happened? Great events have a way of eclipsing those things that follow. We remember the event, of course, but there's something about the day after or the days after that event that sort of fades into oblivion. For example, you remember exactly where you were on 9-11, 2001. You can even remember where you were standing, what you thought when you first heard of the terrorists attacking America, and how you felt. But it's doubtful you could recall that same time the next day where you were and where you stood and what you felt.

It was 9-12, 9-11 was passed. If you're old enough to remember November 22, 1963, you'll never forget where you were when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in the city of Dallas. You remember where you were.

You remember the time of 1230 in the afternoon. You can recall the feelings you had, but you cannot remember November 23, 1963, and where you were at that time. The event is so significant that the day after fades in significance. Married couples can always tell you about their wedding day, and often the honeymoon that is such a vital part of anticipation, but most of us are hard-pressed to remember the week after we're back from our honeymoon when everything is over. Well, not everything is over, but a lot of everything is over and you're into marriage as it is. It's not like it had been on that great wedding day and honeymoon. Milestone birthdays are like that. You've reached a certain level in your life and and someone loves you enough to have a big birthday party and you perhaps reluctantly give in to it or you're happy to do so and we all get together and we celebrate that day. But you can't for the life of you remember what happened the day after that significant birthday or that anniversary or for that matter the day after you graduated.

You wore the cap and gown we all gathered and applauded your academic achievement, but following that, it sort of drops into shadows and shades of insignificance. In our journey through Matthew's gospel, we have looked deeply into what we call the Passion of Christ. It begins in the arrest at the Garden of Gethsemane and it ends at the cross from Gethsemane to Golgotha, the Passion of Christ. All that he endured, all that he suffered, things that were said that were untrue, decisions that were made that were unfair, and ultimately when they nailed him to a cross and stood that cross at the ground stood that cross at the ground and there he hung and there he died.

It is so significant that you wonder what could follow that I would ever need to remember. You may even recall his final word recorded by John. He records it in the original, Tetelestai. It is finished!

And he breezes last. It sounds like it's all over. What he means is it's the mission is accomplished. The purpose of my coming has been realized. It is finished.

But there is so much more. Of course, his body is now lifeless. He is, if you will, a corpse hanging on a cross beam. When taken down, his body is limp and lifeless.

But something happens that's significant even before that moment. When out of compassion, Joseph and another friend named Nicodemus, with great compassion, took him off the cross, pulled the nails, and took him to a private place to embalm him. But if you read the text as I read, today, Matthew 27, verse 50, like the other three Gospels, tells us, he died. As it reads here, he released his spirit. Other Gospel writers say he breathed his last. He gave up his spirit. At that moment, this version reads, something very significant occurred, not at the place of death, but where life was going on, priests were engaged in their in their rituals, people were involved in worship, but something happened in that holiest of holies that had never happened before and would never happen again.

A supernatural phenomenon occurred, a supernatural phenomenon occurred, and we read of it. At that moment, the curtain in the sanctuary of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This isn't just any curtain, and this isn't just any sanctuary. This is the holiest place on planet earth. So holy that sinners are kept away from it at all times. The bright Shekinah glory of God shone down onto the mercy seat. And get this, once a year, the priest with great care would enter briefly, sprinkle blood on that altar, back away, and leave, as he would represent, through the blood shedding there, poured out there, the sins of the people, and move away back outside of the curtain, because the curtain kept people from coming in. Now it's torn in two. It was quite a veil, quite a piece of tapestry.

Josephus reports in his work that it was predominantly blue in color and ornately decorated. He remembers that it was thick, heavy, hand-woven tapestry. Not only is it miraculous that it is torn, but it is torn top to bottom. A.C. Robertson, a fine Baptist scholar from Louisville, teaching at the Southern Seminary, writes in his fine work, Word Pictures of the New Testament, This veil was the most elaborately woven fabric of seventy-two twisted plats of twenty-four threads each, meaning in each braid. The veil was sixty feet long, thirty feet wide, and thirty feet long, thirty feet wide, nine to ten inches thick, requiring three hundred priests to manipulate it when it needed to be moved.

Listen to that. And it's woven tapestry. We have woven rugs in our home, hand-woven tapestries, if you will, on the floor, and not one of them is an inch thick.

They're less than that. Impossible for any one of them to be torn, as thin as they are, as thin as they are, and as carefully as they have been made by hand. This could only have been done by God, and it was an announcement from the Lord saying, no longer is there a barrier between the sinner and the holy God. You are now free to come through the open gate of a torn veil, right into the presence of God, as we read in Hebrews 4, let us therefore draw near with confidence, many Bibles read with boldness, into the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

How marvelous is that? We don't come fearfully. We don't come reluctantly. We don't come not knowing what might happen.

We come boldly. We, if you will, walk right into God's presence, and we represent our own needs before him as believer priests. Do you realize you do not need someone else to represent you when you go before the Lord?

You do not need a priest. You do not need a go-between other than Jesus himself. We go to God through Christ, and we go instantly and boldly and frequently because we now have that kind of open relationship, thanks to the veil being torn. Louis Barry Chafer, who founded Dallas Seminary back in 1924, before he was a theologian, was a musician, and often would blend the two gifts in his writings. He heard the words of the old hymn, Nearer My God to Thee, and they troubled him, because it sounded like, as you sing the words, that we are simply near God, or we have reason to think coming near to God might be a a risky thing, and he rewrote the line, Nearer, Still Nearer, Nearer I Cannot Be, for in the person of his Son I am as near as he.

I love those words, not only because they are beautiful to contemplate, but because of the truth they represent. How close is a son to the Son of God? How close is a son to a father? A better illustration, how close is Jesus, the Son of God, to God the Father? They could not be closer. Nearer we could not be, for in the person of his Son, as we are when we come to Jesus as Savior, we are as near as the Son.

So the access the Son has is the access we have. How marvelous, right after the death of Jesus, the Lord saw to it that the veil be torn, saying from this moment on, you have access to me, no longer needing to go through the priest, the high priest, or whatever priest. Now look further. Furthermore, there was an earthquake. The earth shook so much so that rock split apart. Will you remember also that at noon the same day there was a darkness that shrouded the earth? Not an eclipse. We're never told that the sun was an eclipse. No, it wasn't an eclipse. It was a supernatural phenomenon. The atmospheric condition of earth was changed by the one who created atmospheres, and the earth was shrouded in darkness. So remember, the things that Matthew records from night from noon till on through the day, he records from a scene that was in darkness.

So in the darkness, the veil is split. In the darkness, an earthquake hits. Now as I say that, I have to pause because I realize I'm talking to many of you who have never been through an earthquake. So you just think you know what it would be like.

You don't have a clue. If you live for a few years in the state of California, or Oregon, or Washington, perhaps Alaska, along the fault line, or Nevada, where those quakes occur much more frequently, they do on occasion here, but they're kind of baby quakes here. They're mild, but there are five and six, sometimes seven, on the Richter scale. On occasion, you may even read a one up to eight.

I've never been in one at eight or even seven, but I've been in one at six. And I finally was able to overcome stuttering as a result. It leaves you changed. You see, all your life, you've relied on earth to stay under you. You've walked on it. You could count on the next step being at the same level as this former step, but in an earthquake, all of that changes. I take it this was a massive earthquake if rocks are splitting. This is a time when there is something seismic is happening. Think of being the priest who is going through his ritual near the temple, or at the temple, and think of the worshippers who were there, and they've come out of an outside area which is dark, and it's midday, or a little later, and they're dealing with that, and on top of all of it, there comes an earthquake. And the veil of the temple splits from top to bottom. It is something you'll never forget.

No matter their scale, earthquakes are not any fun. And once you've been through one, it brings a whole new sympathy for this unsettling moment at the cross. Well, it's apparent Chuck Swindoll has much more to say about this passage. We'll invite you, even urge you, to keep listening to Insight for Living. We're intent on absorbing the meticulous details Matthew provided. And to explore a variety of resources from our study in the book of Matthew, please visit us online at insightworld.org.

Chuck began this brand new teaching series in January of this year, and we're reaching the culmination of this study. As such, we encourage you to request your copy of the commentary Chuck Swindoll wrote to complement his sermons. It's called Swindoll's Living Insights on Matthew, and it comes in two volumes.

Many commentaries are scholarly, but hard to comprehend. Well, Chuck wrote this one in a user-friendly style, and it's woven with opportunities for personal application. So to purchase your copy of Swindoll's Living Insights on Matthew, go to insight.org slash offer, or call us if you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888. You know, every day we hear from listeners all over the world who express their gratitude for your generosity and the unfiltered way Chuck delivers the truth. In fact, someone left a comment that said, Chuck, thank you for presenting the unpasteurized word of God.

That's a great word, and you can be sure Insight for Living will never homogenize or water down God's message. In many respects, her thank you note belongs to all those who step forward with voluntary donations. When you give to this nonprofit ministry, you're the one who's touching a life with God's grace, not only here at home, but all around the world. To that end, we invite you to give today.

The need is urgent, and the opportunities for proclaiming the cross are wide open. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888. That's 1-800-772-8888.

Or go to Insight.org. Join us again when Chuck Swindoll continues to describe the final events in Jesus' life, Thursday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, and then what happened, was copyrighted in 2018 and 2021, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2021 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-24 16:13:26 / 2023-07-24 16:21:26 / 8

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