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May 13, 2021 8:00 am
Five miracles surrounded one of the pivotal moments in human history, darkness and earthquake.
A great tearing the dead walking in the unlikely cry of a Roman soldier today on the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce will explain the unearthly events that attended the death of Christ. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.
Matthew 27 overflows with dark and supernatural phenomena, though dreadful and eerie, the true account of the death of Christ is the most dazzling story ever told.
As Dr. Boyce will explain coming to the end of our studies of Matthew. This means, among other things that were coming to some of the core doctrines of the Christian faith. That's especially true today as we talk about the death of Jesus Christ next week as we talk about his burial and then also as we begin to talk about his resurrection were talking about Matthew 27, beginning with verse 45 and through the 28th chapter verse 16. I'm reminded of what Paul says in first Corinthians 15 at the beginning of the chapter by chapter. He summing up those things which are of primary importance and the way he puts his summation is this he says I received what I've also passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures was buried when he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures that he appeared to Peter and the end of the 12. So you have three key doctrines where the crucifixion of Christ for our sin is burial and then thirdly, his resurrection, that's what were going to look at carefully in the studies we begin with Jesus death, all the Gospels reported naturally by the interesting thing is they do it in different ways. Matthew's handling is somewhat unique in that he surrounds it with a report of five distinct miracles, all of which took place at the time of Jesus crucifixion not surprising that miracles should have accompanied Christ in his death, because miracles certainly surrounded is coming into the world to others in the appropriateness to all the black and we think about his birth. Remember the virgin birth, the appearance of the star in the heavens and the Angels their message to the shepherds and other things of that nature. Same thing is true here of the death, although we usually pass over these things. We don't think of these miracles with quite the same significance.
I suppose there's a reason for that reason I would give us a Jesus death was followed by his resurrection. That's the most important and stupendous miracle of all, we rightly focus on that, but it is really striking thing that each of the Gospels does report miracles in Matthew as I said tells of five of them. First is the darkening of the sky between noon and three in the afternoon when Jesus was on the cross. Second is the tearing of the veil of the temple in two from top to bottom. When Jesus died. Third miracle is the earthquake which opened many of the tunes near the place of the crucifixion, followed by fourth resurrection to life of many holy people who had died and then finally for the cry of the century set of Jesus when he saw these things. Surely he was the son of God. I want to suggest is that the last cry of the centurion was the greatest miracle of all. Now when we talk about this darkness fact that the sky should grow dark for a time is not in itself miraculous storms will cause the sky darkened the sky grew dark over Pompeii in A.D. 79, when Vesuvius erupted in the clips will cause the sky darkened, but none of these things explain what was going on here. There are no volcanoes in Israel seldom rains was no storm and certainly wasn't any clips of the clips last only a few minutes.
Three hours before the darkness went away. Moreover, you can't have a eclipse at the time of the Passover because the Passover always takes place during a full moon order to have a full moon. You gotta have the sun on one side of the earth and the moon.
On the other, and the only time you can have an eclipse is when you got the sun and the moon on the same side of the earth and the sun blocks out the moon certainly wasn't an eclipse know this was a special divine intervention of God in nature by which the sky grew dark in the middle of the day, the sixth hour. Just 12 o'clock and I continue darkened to three in the afternoon when Jesus cried out with a loud voice and gave up spirit of this must've been a striking sober and well observed and attested phenomena.
We don't have any records of that in antiquity is a very good reason for that we have hardly any records of all from antiquity, Tertullian, the Christian apologists and one of his writings does refer to it and this is what he says he reminds that even readers of his day that this wonder that is the darkening of the sky quote is related in your own annals and is preserved in your archives. To this day, as I say we don't have a record of black, but there is Tertullian referring to something that was very well known so as I say this was a striking dramatic occurrence when you begin to read the Gospels, particularly Matthew. The amazing thing is how restrained Matthew and the other gospel writers are is a recorded belly shift or speculate about the nature of the darkness or even try to explain its source in a manner that can only enhance their credibility. They simply report that it got dark. Matthew says verse 45, six hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all lands loose were utterly silent hours gap in the narrative. We know nothing about them were told plenty of things about what happened prior to the beginning of the darkness uses and prayed for the soldiers were crucifying him. He had words of promise for the believing criminal who was hanging via item on the cross. He commended his mother to the care of the beloved disciple, the chief priests and the elders and others were taunting him.
We are told all that but with the dissent of the darkness, the narrative in this zip veil had been drawn over the unspeakable sufferings of the son of God. He asked what happened during those three hours of darkness. We know the answer to that was in those hours, the son of God took the guilt of our sin upon himself and suffered there in our place. Experiencing such alienation from the father is our guilt bear that at the end of the three hours he cried out in a voice of agony, Eli, Eli Lama's a bath ally which means my God, my God, why have you forsaken what the darkness did was they only anguish of the son of God, as he became an atonement for our sins, while at the same time crying out against the darkness of our sin brought them to that place. That's the miracle of the darkness. The second miracle took place at the time of Jesus death was the tearing of the great veil separated the holy place of the most holy place of the temple Matthew Mark and Luke first three of the gospel writers all tell about the tearing of the veil and Matthew and Mark say was torn in two from the top to bottom Matthew mentions it in verse 51 Mark writes about that in the 15th chapter in verse 38 fact that they mention it being torn in two from top to bottom suggest that it was something that God did and that it was as we might say have a or weighted with spiritual significance.
You need understand something about the temple. Most of the still that temple as it existed in this day was a central building surrounded by a series of courts. All these courts had walls dividing them from each other on the outside with the Gentiles was a very significant wall. The Gentiles out there were even signs posted that any Gentile. The transgress that boundary would be put to death. After that, there was the Jewish court, where Jewish men and women could go beyond that. That was the court of the man, only the Jewish men to go there than there was a court of the priests only the priests could go there. Then finally came to the temple itself. The temple itself had two parts of the holy places was the outer portion of it, that's where you had the table where the shewbread was presented at the seven branched candlestick then you had the inner portion of the temple called the most holy place of the holy of holies and that is where before the sacking of the city by the Babylonians, the ark of the covenant was placed between the wings of which God in a symbolic sense was understood to dwell about the significance of that is that is twofold. First of all, God dwells in the midst of this people.
That's the imminence of God the same time.
All the veils of a very dramatic teaching that it's just not possible for human beings and their send a barge in upon the presence of a holy God to do that is to be consumed. Gentiles are without the Jews are without priests are without was only one priest once a year and the day of atonement the could actually go into that most holy place beyond the veil you see outside the walls with the was a veil aboard the entrance to the holy place in a very heavy veil separated the holy place from the most holy place.
What happened is that once a year, the high priest of the day of atonement went in there with the blood of the sacrifice you made for the sin of the people and he sprinkled upon the mercy seat.
I talked about that many times I talked about it significance without the blood. It's a picture of judgment, because at ark of the covenant contain law, 10 Commandments, with all of us in Boca where God from his position between the wings of the cherubim looks down.
What he sees as the broken lots of picture of judgment. God judge of all the universe must do right. Sin must be punished. It's a terrifying picture. It's still there in the middle of the Jewish camp in the older days in the middle of Jerusalem and the latter days. As a reminder the people sin of the holiness of God. Then as I sent once a year and the day of atonement, the high priest sprinkled the blood.
There you have a picture of the love of God, who which is provided a way by which sinners can come to sin as to be punished, but it can be punished the person the substitute the animal dies in the place of the center and the blood is the testimony divided testifies to the death of the innocent victim. That's what was fulfilled. Of course by Jesus Christ of the importance of the tearing of the veil that now the sacrifice is taken place in the way is opened and the presence of God through faith in Jesus Christ. See the sacrifices before this were not true sacrifices that were sacrifices in the sense that an animal was killed but they were not the sacrifice they were not the efficacious sacrifice they were not that which actually remove sin µ only make. They pointed forward to the one who should come when that one Jesus Christ did, and when he did suffer death upon the cross in our place becoming the perfect sacrifice efficient for the sins of all who have been given to him by the father. Then there was no more need a need for the symbolism of the veil was torn in two from top to bottom and it's God's way of saying that the work is all done I was were thinking a little bit about what the veil teaches one thing it teaches us of the old system of offering sacrifices year-by-year was now over. I suppose the priests when they saw that the veil was torn.
So to back together and went on with business as usual but if they did that or not wasn't important in the sight of God. The old age was ended and the new age should be gone and that new age now embraces all that will come through Christ particularly Jew and Gentile alike, always writing about that, particularly when he writes to the Ephesians that was a church composer, Jew and Gentile over some friction there and he points out that how God is not removed all these barriers have the veils in the other walls and particularly the great wall that separated the Gentiles from the Jews, Paul says that is all been removed by the cross of Christ is the way he puts it, he himself, that is Jesus is our peace, who has made the 21 and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulation's purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross by which you put to death or hostility. So that's why today we have one people in the fellowship of the church, composer, Jew and Gentile, all kinds of nationalities, male and female, whatever it may be all one in Christ because there's only one way Jesus Christ.
The second thing we learned from the tearing of the veil. Is this Jesus offering of himself as the final sacrifice of nothing more needs to be done or can be done to reconcile sinful men and women to God, Jesus sacrifice was a real sacrifice for sin. I pointed out that the others were symbolic sacrifices. They pointed forward to the one that would really be efficacious. But when Jesus died, he really did it. He put away our real sin by his real death suggested. Anything else is needed for our salvation is a false gospel is what the reformers were talking about again and again when they insisted using their expression in Latin. Upon solus Christus that is Christ alone is Christ alone has gone on alone needs to be done and nothing else can be added that anything else to Christ. Work is to preach another gospel which the Bible condemns book of Hebrews develops that very thoroughly and is worth reading a little bit what the author of that book says listen this is from chapter 9 of Hebrews, beginning with verse 25 Christ did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way a high priest enters the most holy place every year with blood that is not his own, and Christ would've had to suffer many times since the creation of the world but now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sin of many people.
He will appear a second time, not to bear sin to bring salvation to those who were waiting for him. Hard to imagine anything being clearer than that. But here's the way Paul says it in first Timothy, there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men. The testimony given at the proper time. That is why today we insist that there is but one Savior. He is Jesus and that you have to believe on him and commit yourself to him and follow him. In order to be saved by the question of provincialism or narrowmindedness which is recognizing who Jesus Christ is and what he did. Nobody else could do that Jesus didn't software to be reconciled to God. It has to be in that way then there's 1/3 meeting of the torn veil and it's this because of Christ's work. It's not possible for those who believe on him to approach God directly in the Old Testament. It had to be in directly that is through the priest.
Nobody could present their own sacrifice. I had to come with her animal to the priest would slant take the blot upon the altar of all that, but now the way is open for everybody because the veil is been torn river Hebrews 9. A moment ago. Here's Hebrews 10 author making this point therefore brother since we have confidence to enter the most holy Place by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God in full assurance of faith, hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. All that involved in the tearing of the veil. The third miracle was the earthquake. The earthquake we are told, split the rocks and broke open and able to smell again earthquakes in themselves are not miraculously occur all the time and we're particularly aware of that now because of earthquakes occurred around the world in recent months. Terrible earthquake in Turkey one in Taiwan one out in Southern California. Just this weekend.
Some of those places many, many people killed by that's very much in our minds.
So the spelling miraculous in itself about an earthquake, but the timing of this one was because this one occurred at the very time of Christ's death. Matthew doesn't explain what it meant just records. It is a fact that of course adds to the historical credibility we begin to reflect on it and say what doesn't mean my suspicion is that so I suspect what Matthew has in mind is this, remember that this is a largely Jewish gospel been contrasting what Jesus is done with the Old Testament. I think he thinking back to the giving of the law of Sinai. When the earth also trembled. In this way, so much so as it says in Hebrews that Moses actually trembled with fear here is Matthew saying, probably in the inauguration of this new age.
There's a similar phenomenon as if he were saying. I think what John says and first chapter of his gospel law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ things about these miracles we don't understand as I said the tearing of the veil is easiest because it is explained in Hebrews.
But the darkness isn't explained.
Although I tried to say what I think it means he earthquake is and explain and there's a lot we don't know about the next miracle. This worthwhile resurrection of many of the Old Testament saints and their appearance to many in Jerusalem following Jesus resurrection I can make a whole list of questions. I wish Matthew would answer. We don't know whether these were saints who would died long ago, are only recently who were they. Matthew Matthew doesn't say we don't know how long they remained alive. Was this a temporary resurrection tester resuscitation, or did they die again any case, what happened to them when they translated the heaven like Elijah did.
They go back home and everybody had to go through their dying again even though they went to when they went into Jerusalem or why they went or what they said when I got there, none of that is answered as I suggest.
One thing that does show how historical this must be otherwise why would Matthew record such an amazing thing. All put in something puzzling like that and I'll explain unless it's true you say well what is it that actually is going on.
I suppose the reason for the resurrection is that it was a foretaste of the resurrection that all believers are going to have as a result of Jesus resurrection. What could it mean except that this was a promise from God.
The just as Jesus was raised from the dead, so also will God raise from the dead, those who die in him. I say that because Jesus himself taught you know what his friend Lazarus died and Jesus wasn't there.
He came back to Bethany later and Martha, one of the two sisters went out to meet him and when she saw him she said to him, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died which Jesus replied your brother will rise again. Well that was good Jewish theology, at least for conservatives who believed in the resurrection.
The Pharisees certainly believe that and that was what Martha was thinking about.
Undoubtedly, she said well yes I know that I I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day, perhaps was a just like you say well that's not a great deal of comfort to me at the moment Jesus had an answer for that.
He said to her, Martha.
I am resurrection on the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies. Whoever lives and believes in me will never die unless a very short statement, but that is wonderful, comprehensive teaching, it indicated the true life is spiritual life and that those who believe in Jesus habit is what really matters.
It also thought that there would be a final resurrection according to which it is also proper to psycho in an apparently contradictory matter.
Those who believe in Jesus will never die, and all of this is because of Jesus Christ and becomes our through our faith inhibits why Jesus ended by saying I am the resurrection and life indicated you say that it's the destiny of all believe on him to be raised to life at the time of Jesus resurrection or following relator said to his disciples because I have, you will live also. Later, Paul wrote to the Corinthians.
Christ is indeed been raised from the daddies become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep because since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man was in Adam Aldine. So in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn Christ the firstfruits, then when he comes, those who belong to him. I suppose those who came out of the tomb were not told us that they all died again. But while there is is not the final resurrection. It was a resurrection and pointed forward to the day when all who are Christ will be raised by him throughout this message I've been using other passages of Scripture to explain these things necessarily so because Matthew doesn't explain. Listen Paul does the same thing when we talk about the resurrection. These are the verses from first Corinthians 15 that we know so well, beginning with verse 51 listen.
Paul writes, I tell you a mystery of all sleep, but we will be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet trumpet will sound dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. The perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. The perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality in the saying that is written will come true death has been swallowed up in victory. Where no death, is your victory where death is your staying the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law thanks be to God. He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, resurrection many of the saints died at time of Christ's resurrection is clinch that resurrection is coming, and encouragement for those who wait for lives of the four miracles.
The fifth one is what happened in the century of that is what I call the greatest miracle of all this man was a pagan of course, you may have heard about Jesus, I have been impressed as he watched the flogging on that, but he was certainly an unbeliever when he saw what was happening when Jesus died. Apparently, God used these events to quicken into spiritual life and he cried out what was certainly true faith. Surely he was the son of God, that may not of been a full confession. This man certainly had more to learn later, and undoubtedly did, but he was correct as far as he went and it was significantly did not say merely certainly this must've been a good man and he's being crucified unjustly. He didn't say I look at that model of suffering. Here he is suffering and is not cursing those who have unjustly put them to death. He didn't even say notice. This must be the king of Israel, though that was actually what was written about the cross.
He said this man is divine.
This man is the son of God. There is that divine son of God, the second person of the Trinity hanging on the cross, buying the sin of all of the trust them, and that's what this man did I say that's the greatest miracle of all anything to have an earthquake scribe grow darker, perhaps even a people come out of the grave, but to have a rebellious antihuman heart quickened by the Spirit of God, the one who was been hostile Christ up to that point throughout life. Now comes to embrace Jesus Christ as Savior and Depaul… Thereafter is Lord and love him and to love others, even enemies, for Christ sake that requires a miracle of absolutely divine portion yet is what happens, everyone will actually comes to faith in us by the grace of God? We were there was this of you made that confession, that one who hung up on the cross in darkness suffering for Satan so many centuries ago as a son of God in your Savior is what it is to be a Christian to confess that if you've never made that confession, you need to do it right now because that's the only way any man or woman will ever say spread our father, we thank you for the time we have had to study this most important moments in all of human history look a little bit of the way. Matthew begins to present it to us through all these dramatic miraculous events that occurred when Jesus died. We probably only begun to understand a little bit of what they mean but weak understand enough of the Jesus son of God is what the sensorium confessed to know that he died for sin. The Bible teaches from beginning to and enough to know that is the only one that could possibly be the Savior of the only Savior that ever was, is or ever will be. So our father, use last many hearts, even as we talk about it now to bring those were dead and set out of death into spiritual life making polymers of our board.
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