7 Last Words of Jesus from the Cross
Week # 8
In our conclusion of this study, let's go deeper into what happen after the crucifixion. What did Jesus do and where did Jesus go? These are good questions to learn, so we can be greater witnesses for our Lord Jesus Christ. We mention this in one of the study, if not mistaken, it was our introduction. The events following Jesus' death is very important to learn.
Events Following Jesus' Death
Matthew 27:51-52 - At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. (NIV)
Why did the Temple's curtain rent in part?
During the lifetime of Jesus, the holy temple in Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious life. The temple was the place where animal sacrifices were carried out and worship according to the Law of Moses was followed faithfully. (Hebrews 9:1-9) tells us that in the temple a veil separated the Holy of Holies—the earthly dwelling place of God's presence—from the rest of the temple where men dwelt. This signified that man was separated from God by sin (Isaiah 59:1-2). Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil once each year (Exodus 30:10; Hebrews 9:7) to enter into God's presence for all of Israel and make atonement for their sins (Leviticus 16).
Solomon's temple was 30 cubits high (1 Kings 6:2), but Herod had increased the height to 40 cubits, according to the writings of Josephus, a first century Jewish historian. There is uncertainty as to the exact measurement of a cubit, but it is safe to assume that this veil was somewhere near 60 feet high. Josephus also tells us that the veil was four inches thick and that horses tied to each side could not pull the veil apart. The book of Exodus teaches that this thick veil was fashioned from blue, purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen.
The size and thickness of the veil makes the events occurring at the moment of Jesus' death on the cross so much more momentous. "And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom" (Matthew 27:50-51).
So, what do we make of this? What significance does this torn veil have for us today? Above all, the tearing of the veil at the moment of Jesus' death dramatically symbolized that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins. It signified that now the way into the Holy of Holies was open for all people, for all time, both Jew and Gentile.
When Jesus died, the veil was torn, and God moved out of that place never again to dwell in a temple made with hands (Acts 17:24). God was through with that temple and its religious system, and the temple and Jerusalem were left "desolate" (destroyed by the Romans) in A.D. 70, just as Jesus prophesied in (Luke 13:35). As long as the temple stood, it signified the continuation of the Old Covenant. (Hebrews 9:8-9) refers to the age that was passing away as the new covenant was being established (Hebrews 8:13).
In a sense, the veil was symbolic of Christ Himself as the only way to the Father (John 14:6). This is indicated by the fact that the high priest had to enter the Holy of Holies through the veil. Now Christ is our superior High Priest, and as believers in His finished work, we partake of His better priesthood. We can now enter the Holy of Holies through Him. (Hebrews 10:19-20) says that the faithful enter into the sanctuary by the "blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the veil, that is, through his flesh." Here we see the image of Jesus' flesh being torn for us just as He was tearing the veil for us.
The veil being torn from top to bottom is a fact of history. The profound significance of this event is explained in glorious detail in Hebrews. The things of the temple were shadows of things to come, and they all ultimately point us to Jesus Christ. He was the veil to the Holy of Holies, and through His death the faithful now have free access to God.
The veil in the temple was a constant reminder that sin renders humanity unfit for the presence of God. The fact that the sin offering was offered annually and countless other sacrifices repeated daily showed graphically that sin could not truly be atoned for or erased by mere animal sacrifices. Jesus Christ, through His death, has removed the barriers between God and man, and now we may approach Him with confidence and boldness (Hebrews 4:14-16).
The Centurion - "Surely he was the Son of God!"
(Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:47)
The rending of the veil signified that Christ, by his death, opened a way to God. We have an open way through Christ to the throne of grace, or mercy-seat now, and to the throne of glory hereafter. When we duly consider Christ's death, our hard and rocky hearts should be rent; the heart, and not the garments. That heart is harder than a rock that will not yield, that will not melt, where Jesus Christ is plainly set forth crucified. The graves were opened, and many bodies of saints which slept, arose. To whom they appeared, in what manner, and how they disappeared, we are not told; and we must not desire to be wise above what is written. The dreadful appearances of God in his providence, sometimes work strangely for the conviction and awakening of sinners. This was expressed in the terror that fell upon the centurion and the Roman soldiers. We may reflect with comfort on the abundant testimonies given to the character of Jesus; and, seeking to give no just cause of offence, we may leave it to the Lord to clear our characters, if we live to Him. Let us, with an eye of faith, behold Christ and him crucified, and be affected with that great love wherewith he loved us. But his friends could give no more than a look; they beheld him, but could not help him. Never were the horrid nature and effects of sin so tremendously displayed, as on that day when the beloved Son of the Father hung upon the cross, suffering for sin, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. Let us yield ourselves willingly to his service.
The Soldiers Break the Thieves' Legs
(John 19:31-33) explaining why the soldiers did not break the legs of Jesus. John's is the only account that shows fulfillment of the prophecies concerning none of Jesus' bones being broken and His side being pierced. (Numbers 9:12 "They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it." (Psalm 34:20) "He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken." (Zechariah 12:10) ""And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn." According to prophecy it came to pass.
The Soldier Pierces Jesus Side:
(John 19:34) Could Blood and Water have Issued from a Dead Jesus?
Some doubt that any fluids at all could have issued from Jesus because he was already dead when his side was pierced, John 19:33. Once death occurs, the blood does not flow well because the heart stops pumping and the body grows cold. Yet the blood had to flow as a visible sign of his expiatory (atoning) death, because Leviticus 17:11 says: "... the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes atonement by reason of the life" (this is one way Christianity explains expiation (the act of making amends or reparation for guilt or wrongdoing; atonement.) [atonement]). Hence, a miracle was likely required to confirm that his expiatory work was now "finished," as Jesus himself says in John 19:30. Jesus was born by a miracle from a young virgin, performed dozens of miracles throughout his short adult life, and his life's end was marked by a miracle, the issue of blood and water. Then came the final miracle: a resurrection from the dead three days later, the New Testament records. He still works miracles, even after His death!!! There are more………………….
Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
(Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42)
Jesus Rises from the Dead
(Matthew 28:1-7; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-9)
Jesus Appear to the Eleven and others: (Mark 16:9; Matthew 28:9, 17; Luke 24:15, 36, 50; I Corinthians 15:5, 6, 7, 8; John 20:19, 26; 21:1; Acts 9:5).
Jesus Ascended to the Father (Acts 1:7-10; Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:51)