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. . . And Then, What Happened?, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
November 11, 2021 7:05 am

. . . And Then, What Happened?, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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November 11, 2021 7:05 am

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

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When we hear the account of Jesus' death on the cross, it's quite common to let our minds skip ahead to Easter morning. We tend to avoid the details of His gruesome crucifixion and gravitate instead toward the joy of His miraculous resurrection. And He invites us to follow along in Matthew chapter 27, where we find the surprising drama that unfolded following Jesus' death.

Chuck titled today's message, And Then What Happened? And we begin with prayer. We realize, our Father, that any place we open your Word, there are treasures to be discovered, significant treasures that relate to our lives, truth to be seen regarding the events when they occurred and what they meant to those people and how they relate to us. From the first century to the 21st, these words continue to be relevant and they ring with hope and reassurance. May we grasp what you have for us. May we not be so preoccupied with the things that concern us in our everyday lives that we miss what you have for us in these brief minutes we're together. Enable us to glean from these words, these lines, from this narrative, what you have for us to see and to remember as a result of our time in your Word. Make it especially meaningful for those today who have lost a sense of hope. Hope that you can reach someone who seems forever out of reach. Hope that you can do a work even after death, that you can carry out your will even against those who fight it and resist it. Speak to us, Lord.

We're listening and we care. Thank you in advance, Father, for the way you use the gifts of your people who give graciously and generously and faithfully. Thank you for sustaining this church over the years and raising us up from a simple, small body of people who would occupy a piece of land in the middle of nowhere and ultimately find ourselves right here in the nerve center of a busy city in North Texas.

Thank you for this. We accept it as a part of your grace and we hold it loosely. Be pleased as we give today for the work of ministry to be carried on. May it be a reminder to all of us of how great your grace has been to us, how meaningful your mercy and how deep your love day after day, week after week, year after year. And for that and a thousand other reasons, we give with hearts of gratitude and generosity in the name of Jesus, who loved us and died for us. We pray.

Everyone say, Amen. 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. Chuck titled his message and then what happened? 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 and there he hung. And there 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 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 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. 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. 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 rocks 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 noon till 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. 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.

There is even a rolling experience. We had a dog that was able to predict earthquakes and the dog would howl. Oh, I was going to do it, but I'm not going to do that. The dog would howl before the earthquake hit. And our son, who owned the dog, Chuck would say, earthquake's coming, Dad.

I'd say, yeah, right. And all of a sudden it would hit. That dog knew ahead of time. He had kind of an earthquake sensitivity and we would go through it. We've seen books thrown off the wall. We've seen dishes break. We've seen chairs turned over.

And you go through that and it's horrendous. 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 and 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 will never forget. And look at the third. The bodies, the tombs were opened and 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 city of Jerusalem and appeared to many people. What? You ever seen that before? Many people have never realized that right after Jesus' death, tombs opened and bodies appeared.

You know that? I remember when I was younger and was thinking about my need for seminary. This is one of the reasons I want to go to a place where they really believe the Bible. And that was for me. It was for Dallas Seminary. And I was accepted. And I began looking forward to taking the course, which was taught by the now the late J.D.

White Pentecost. He taught the life of Christ, just holding a testament in his hand and teaching the whole semester without a note. I mean, he knew the life of Christ.

So naturally, I took that course along with, well, the room was packed with students. And I was waiting for Matthew 27. OK, I've been I've been waiting for the answer to the bodies, the tombs opening and the bodies coming out. And they go into Jerusalem. What are they? Mummies sitting around drinking coffee? What's what's going on?

What what is this? And I knew Dr. Pentecost would have the answer. And I want to tell you, I wrote down I had my pencil and my pen ready back in those days.

There weren't computers. You wrote down your notes. And so on. I got my my pen ready. These are his words.

And I quote, I do not know who they were. Frankly, I'm stumped by all of this. Now, the next verse. Wait, stop. I want to go. No, no, no.

Wait, hold it. So. Now that we've come to this passage. I want to give you my interpretation.

I don't know who they were, and frankly, I'm stumped by all of this. In fact, if you want to know what it's all about, call John MacArthur. He knows everything about all of this. So it's a joke, everybody. Come on.

He probably does know what these are, but I don't. I cannot explain this. If the late white Pentecost could not, I am not going to touch this one with a 10 foot pole. But I do know that they didn't come out of the tomb resurrected until after Jesus' resurrection. See, verse 53. That's very important. That was made clear in that class.

And I'll make it clear today. Why do I say that? Because Jesus is the first fruits of those raised from the dead. The first one to be resurrected was Jesus. There were others who were resuscitated. They came back from beyond in the same body. But they were not raised in a glorified body until Jesus' resurrection.

His was the first and they followed. But all of this, I want you to picture whatever it meant and however it occurred. Imagine living there and witnessing it and experiencing it. Now you can appreciate the centurion's response. It's given to us in 54 and 55.

Or 54. Look at the verse. The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake. You see, they aren't yawning. They're not having to imagine it. They're going through it.

And it is truly a terrifying experience. Who's the centurion? Well, he's the most seasoned of the Roman soldiers. He's known in combat. He, as we often would say, he's earned his stripes.

He's a rugged, battle-scarred, war-hardened veteran of the Roman army who's in charge of this crucifixion detail. And he's terrified. And notice his response. He and those around him say, almost in unison, this man truly was the son of God.

Don't skate too quickly over those words. Those are the words of a hardened veteran who doesn't base anything on emotions. Whose life has been marked by combat, killing all around him, maybe done some of it himself. And he is so moved, I believe it's a moment of conversion. This is a man, gentile to the core, has had no schooling, no religious training. All of his training in anything related to God would be regarding the mythical gods of Rome. And suddenly, he's saying that one hanging on that cross is the son of God.

I'll close my message today in a little bit by coming back to this, but let me add here. Before you write anyone off and think they are too far gone ever to believe, remember the centurion. Every one of us knows someone, or we're related to someone, or we've been friends with someone, or maybe someone in our own family is a far distance from the Lord, and our tendency is to think they'll never come around, they'll never believe in Jesus, they'll never submit their lives to Christ. Would you look?

Would you let the record stand for what it says? This man went home that night and said, if he was a married man, I'll never be the same. And she says, you've done crucifixions for months.

What do you mean? You want to eat? No, no, no. He is like none other. Let me tell you what I heard, because he was there to hear the other things. Father, forgive them for they don't know what they're doing. Into your hands I commend my spirit and those other sayings from the cross. The centurion was right there. He heard it all, and then the earthquake, and then the darkness, and these open tombs. And that's all he needed.

He believed. No one is so far gone that the Lord is unable to reach them. So since he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, then let's not be willing either.

Let's not give up on anyone either. Lord, to add the word yet to your sentence. No, he doesn't know the Lord yet.

No, she hasn't turned the corner, spiritually speaking, yet. Until the crucifixion, the centurion hadn't either, yet. But at this moment, he was a different man. The scene changes rather quickly in Matthew's Gospel as we get to verse 57. Joseph appears before Pilate, since Pilate is the governor, the Roman in charge of the capital punishment, and he asks permission for him to take the body from the cross. Let me pause and mention something that becomes very important.

Remember what you learned last time? Bodies were usually left on a cross to disintegrate. They were not considered worthy of a burial.

They hung until the birds ate them apart or insects or just the disintegration of the elements. And that's probably what the authorities of the Jews and even Romans thought would happen, but not in this case. Joseph and other Gospel writers tell us a Pharisee who has been converted, named Nicodemus.

Remember that name? Who came to Jesus by night, according to John 3, and heard the Gospel of being born again. So these two men, though Matthew only mentions Joseph here, they went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body.

Pilate issues an order and allows them to release him, so watch closely. They go to the cross. They take the body down from the cross.

They carry the body in its limp and lifeless state to a private place where they will prepare it with dignity and honor for the burial. This is one of those days when it would be good to place a bookmark in this passage. Chuck Swindoll will return to Matthew 27 on Friday's program, with a lot more to show us in this biblical account of the events that transpired after Jesus' suffering and death. This is Insight for Living, and to learn more about this ministry, please visit us online at insightworld.org. Well, it's quite possible today that you're listening to this program alone in your car, alone at home, or perhaps listening to the podcast by yourself with headphones.

But in reality, you're not alone. Millions around the world are listening to this program today with you. We're delighted God has chosen to give Insight for Living a global audience of eager learners like you who want to hear the truth about Jesus.

For instance, we received a personal comment from a listener in the Philippines. She said, Hi, Pastor Chuck. Thank you for your dedication and commitment to God.

I've been in a very tough situation wherein I've lost myself and my love for God. But thank you for writing this book. And she included a picture of her favorite book from Chuck. Well, I can assure you that your transparent words are an encouragement to all those who invest financially in the ministry of Insight for Living. Because you reinforce that our giving is truly making a difference. So as God moves you to join us in touching lives, we invite you to give generously today. No gift is too small as we pull together in this all-out effort to make disciples of Jesus Christ, just as our Lord commanded. You can give a donation today by calling us. If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888.

That's 1-800-772-8888. And remember, when you give, you're the one God is using to amplify the message of Insight for Living. We truly couldn't do this work without friends like you who give.

So go online to insight.org. Travelers who want to take a tour to Israel have lots of choices, but few measure up to the thoughtful journey prepared by Insight for Living Ministries. With a proper mix of historical information and biblical context, we provide ample opportunities to pause and let the wonder in. Our goal is to create special moments when you deepen your love for the Bible and draw closer to your Lord. Experience an unforgettable 12-day tour to Israel with Chuck Swindoll and Insight for Living Ministries, March 6-17, 2022. To help you grasp the significance of each site, you'll be accompanied by hand-picked Israeli guides, and we choose the best. Along with seminary-trained pastors and professors to enhance your spiritual journey, no organization I know of offers this level of exceptional, in-depth instruction and personal care for Holy Land travelers.

To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. Just imagine walking along sacred sites and watching the Bible come to life. Make your reservation by calling 1-888-447-0444 or go to insight.org slash events. Insight for Living Ministries' tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. Join us when Chuck Swindoll presents another heart-rending message about the death of Jesus. That's Friday 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 03:27:25 / 2023-07-24 03:35:41 / 8

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