Did you know there were things which happened between Jesus’ death and Resurrection, which you may not have known about? Well, some of these things were new to me too! I taught them in our fellowship one Sunday awhile back, and it caught the attention of those listening. So, I felt I would share them with you. These things were God’s doing, but because they were related to Jesus, I had them put under the category of, “Jesus Christ,” on our website.
All of the Gospels have information about Jesus’ death and Resurrection, but not every Gospel covers all the things we will look at. Let us look at each Gospel, and see what it says about the death of Jesus.
Matthew 27:50 (NIV)1
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
Mark 15:37 (NIV)
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
Luke 23:46 (NIV)
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
John 19:30 (NIV)
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
So, from all four Gospels we see they did not kill him, but he gave up his spirit, and he breathed his last. You could say, “he breathed his last,” could be said about anyone who died, but not him, he, “gave up his spirit.” We see here, that they are tied together, when it comes to Jesus. They did not snuff him out, he chose the time, and he did it when he had fulfilled the Scriptures, as we will see in the gospel of John. We, in hind sight [even though most was prophesied], know the damage they did to him. His face was not even recognizable, his skin had all but been ripped off, and he had been beaten to a pulp. As a father, I could not stand back and let this happen to any of my children, yet God loved us so much He let this happen in order to buy us back [redeem us] from His Enemy, the Wicked One, at the cost of His own Son. Jesus said that he could get MORE than12 Legions of angels [72,000 (Matt. 26:53)] to get him out of it [at his arrest], and earlier in the Garden of Gethsemane, he had his misgivings, yet he still did not ask for the angels! He asked God to take this cup from him in that Garden, yet because of his love for us and his obedience to his Daddy, he went through all of that suffering. What love, God and Son Family Practice went through for all of us! Now, let us look at each Gospel and see the amazing things that happened!
We at, “Living Love with Jesus,” believe every book of the Bible is tied to others. We believe the Gospels are all tied together, but then each must stand on its own merit. When we read them all, it is easy to see the miracles, but we must look for the miracles individually, within each Gospel. This will become clearer as we work through each one! We will start in Matthew in the next verse, from the verse in Matthew we looked at previously.
Matthew 27:51 (NIV)
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.
These were acts of God, and the Word does not record any hurt to any people. First, the curtain [veil] of the temple tore from top to bottom. Let us look at this curtain in the Hebrew Scriptures,2 at the time when the temple was built, and everything for it; how it was made.
2 Chronicles 3:14 and 15 (NIV)
14 He made the curtain of blue, purple and crimson yarn and fine linen, with cherubim worked into it. 15 In the front of the temple he made two pillars, which together were thirty-five cubits [That is about 52 feet (about 16 meters)] long, each with a capital on top measuring five cubits.
By reading the context, they were hung on chains at the top, and came down almost touching the floor. That is a long curtain [veil], about 52 feet [about 16 meters] long. This was done by God, because no men could tear it from top to bottom. They could tear at the bottom, then pull, and maybe rip it to the top, but only God could do it from top to bottom. The Jews had rejected Jesus, the Messiah, and God was exposing the holy of holies, where the Ark (meaning box or chest) of the Covenant was, for all to see. That curtain separated the holy of holies from everyone else. I feel God made this gesture to, in essence, show symbolically what Jesus just accomplished, which is in Ephesians 2:14 and 15 says, which I have bolded.
Ephesians 2:14 and 15 (NIV)
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,
First, there is nothing else in the Bible, except the curtain [veil], which shows a barrier between the Jews and Gentiles being destroyed. The holy of holies separated, symbolically, the Law from the average Jews, from the Gentiles. By the way a tent makes a wall, and this curtain was acting as a wall. When the Ark (box or chest) was in the holy of holies, it contained the second set of stone tablets, which were the Ten Commandments. Moses had broken the first set! Many times the Law of Moses was displayed next to it; same was true in the Tabernacle in the wilderness [Tent of Meeting]. Only the priests were allowed in there. Once the curtain was torn, any one could see what was in there. Even though God allowed the crucifixion to happen, I do not think he was happy with what they did to His Son. The Jews were the ones who pushed for Jesus to be crucified, even though Pilate found no basis to charge him [John 18:38]. The tearing of the curtain [veil] was letting those Jews in the Temple know that God knew who was responsible.
In Matthew, it also says, “…The earth shook and the rocks split.” For this to happen, it was God who shook the world, to let them know they had done wrong. Also, for rocks to split, that is another thing God did, because rocks, even in an earthquake, just do not split. They may split underground, but this was surface rocks in view of those seeing the crucifixion. I have been in an earthquake, and seen things move, including rocks, but they do not split. I know God wanted Jesus to redeem mankind, but I do not think He was happy about him having to be tortured to death to make it so. He was not happy with the real torture they did to His Son, even though He told us in the past what was going to happen. After all, God does get angry. Look up, “angry,” in the Hebrew Scriptures, and you will see many verses, which say He was angry. Here are just a few: Deuteronomy 1:37, 4:21, 9:8, and 20; 1 Kings 11:9; 2 Kings 17:18; e.g. This next section of Matthew was amazing to me, as I did not know this before I worked it. Funny thing is, I have read the entire Bible, and yet I keep finding things I did not know.
Matthew 27:52 and 53 (NIV)
52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people [saints] who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
This was the only place where this is mentioned in the Gospels, and the revelation was given to Matthew, one of Jesus’ original Twelve Disciples. Many tombs were hewn in solid rock. The openings were not just simply opened up! The tombs broke open, and many dead saints were raised to life! WOW! That would have really shocked people to see relatives, or friends, whose funeral they had attended, yet get up and live again! Again, this was God, and I love the fact He broke open the graves! Then, verse 53 would have shocked the entire city of Jerusalem, and those in the Temple. Three days later, after Jesus’ Resurrection, those raised people, “…went into the holy city and appeared too many people.” I think the Jews might have been reexamining their words, “Crucify him!” Can you imagine the talk going around Jerusalem? That is something I would have loved to have seen! Well, there is more to see!
Matthew 27:54–56 (NIV)
54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened [rocks splitting, graves breaking open, and the holy dead raised to life], they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” 55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
According to the NIV Study Bible in the footnotes a, “centurion is a Roman military officer in charge of 100 soldiers.” Now think about it, what did this centurion see, that would have made him make the statement, “Surely he was the Son of God!” This point is important enough to repeat! The rocks splitting may have got him thinking, but those tombs breaking open, and people being raised from the dead, was most likely what really opened his eyes to the Truth! That would have woken up MANY, I would think! I wanted you to know that Mary Magdalene [the former prostitute], Mary the mother of James and Joses [Jesus’ mom and two of his brothers], and the mother of Zebedee’s sons [the mother of those who were the third and fourth disciples, that Jesus picked of the Twelve] were all watching everything that was going on. This may have contributed to why the women were the first to really check out, see, and believe in the Resurrection. Remember, Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene [Mark 16:9]. The women were always around at the time of his being raised, I think seeing everything the centurion saw, may have affected them as well. Think about it, do you think seeing those things might make you see who Jesus really was? Well, I do! Let us now go to Mark.
Mark 15:38–41 (NIV)
38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” 40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.
In one way, there is much less information here, but mostly, what we saw in Matthew. Here we see that Salome, a sister of Jesus, was there, and many other women who had come up with and cared for Jesus, who were from Galilee, were there too! These women cared for the needs of Jesus, and the Twelve, as they traveled. This happened many times throughout the Gospels, yet I never saw that before two years ago. There is more about this in the Gospels, but covering it all here would take away from the topic at hand.
I want to start before Jesus’ death, to show you something in Luke. Jesus did not die on a Friday, and I will have to handle this, but it would detract from this article to teach it in full here. Suffice it to say, a six year old knows you cannot get, “three days and three nights,” between Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Sunday morning! Think about it? Friday night, Saturday day, Saturday night, Sunday morning! That is two nights, and one day! The Jewish day time started at 6 a.m, but the actual day started at 6 p.m., so you do not have but one day! Jesus said, “three days and three nights,” and if he lied then that shoots us being saved! You will not find Friday in your Bible, concerning this subject. I wrote an article a while back which covers the birth, death, and Resurrection of Jesus. That article is titled, “Is It Wrong to Celebrate Holidays Because Most Have Pagan Roots?” It will help you understand every aspect of those things which happened. His death and Resurrection are the most important to us Christians. Our salvation depends on it! Look at these verses.
Romans 10:9 and 10 (NIV)
9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Many verses are used for salvation, several from the Gospels, which are written to the Jews. This verse says it all, and Romans is written to Christians. I wrote an article covering this topic to some extent titled, “I Am Confused About Trying to Live By the Whole Bible, Can You Help Me?” Please click on link to read it. This verse in Romans really hits the point on getting saved. “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord.’” IF YOU CONFESS with your mouth! You have to do that! With your mouth confess, “Jesus is Lord!” You also have to, “…believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead…” Who? You have to believe, “GOD RAISED HIM [JESUS] FROM THE DEAD!” Not that he was born, or that he died, but RAISED FROM THE DEAD! Then, and only then, “you will be saved!” Then it states, “…it is with your heart that you believe and are justified….” When you work the Word, to be justified, is to be, “just as if I had never sinned.” You are cleansed! Then, the first part of verse 9 comes into play, “…it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” There it is! Salvation in a nut shell! Now back to Luke. From this text below, the curtain tore as Jesus was dying.
Luke 23:44–46 (NIV)
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
Mark 15:25 states, it was the third hour when they crucified Jesus. Verse 44 states, about the sixth hour until the ninth hour “…darkness came over the whole land….” I brought in Mark here, with Luke, to explain a couple things. By the Jewish method of designating time, the third hour was 9 a.m., the sixth hour was noon [12 p.m.], and the ninth hour was 3 p.m. This means Jesus was on the Cross for six hours. What love he had, knowing he could have gotten out of it by calling the 72,000 angels. Also, from noon till 3 p.m. [3 hours], “…darkness came over the whole land….” Verse 45 tells us why! It states, “for the sun stopped shining….” It does not say it was cloudy, or that it was covered by cloud! God knows the word, “cloud,” and “clouds,” because He and His Son Jesus used those words 166 times in the Bible. Look at these verses, where God used clouds four times after the flood.
Genesis 9:13–16 (NIV)
13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
When you see something like this, where God does not say something, which He knows, then something else is going on. If He wants you to learn from this, what is it He wants you to learn? He says, “for the sun stopped shining.” He did not say that it got cloudy. You will have to wait a couple more verses to see why. Then, as Jesus was saying his dying words, the curtain tore in two. Hey! He never told us that before! It is now in two pieces! No one at the Crucifixion would see that, or know it. So, here in Luke 23:44–46, the fact the sun got dark, was the only thing which happen in this record to change the mind of the people. In the next verses, we will get to. Look at this.
Luke 23:47–49 (NIV)
47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
First, for the centurion to say what he said, the sun going dark must have been something totally out of the ordinary! I told you earlier, look for the miracles in each Gospel record. The sun getting dark for three hours, I think would classify as a major miracle! Otherwise, here in this record, what changed the centurion? The sky darkening was not normal! God was again getting their attention, and He did get the centurion’s! Verse 48 says more than meets the eyes as well. It states, “…all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, [and] they beat their breasts and went away.” My NIV Study Bible and other sources say that, “beat their breasts,” is, “A sign of anguish, grief, or contrition.” This was not talking about the people who knew him, that they are talked about in verse 49. This is talking about the Jews, and the Romans. The Romans were merely doing a job, but it states, “all the people.” That sun going dark would have let many know this was God’s doing. I looked up anguish, grief, and contrition. It was contrition which surprised me. It is defined as, “sincere penitence or remorse.” Those who beat their breasts were sorry for what they did, and beating their breasts was showing others they were sad that they did what they did, and had remorse. This was a true dark day, in some ways, but not in others. I do not know why they would ever call it, “Good Friday,” especially since it was not Friday. All saw, and I am sure, many believed that day. When you start adding up all God did that day, it is very exciting! Those who knew Jesus, and those women again, learned more about God’s awesome power by watching those things.
God was again involved to fulfill Scripture prophecy. Jesus knew the Scriptures, and knew his dying was Bible prophecy. Jesus told, “…some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law…” about the sign of Jonah! See below!
Matthew 12:38–41 (NIV)
38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.” 39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.
Jesus lived in obedience to his heavenly Father. When he said this, he was explaining something many still do not understand. Verse 40 says way more than our dumbed down society understands today. It states, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” This is a simile. So, whenever you have a comparison using, “like,” or “as,” it is a simile. People! Jonah was not Pinocchio! He was not alive inside the whale, or big fish, eating hot dogs, and roasting marshmallows! Jonah was dead! That was what Jesus was communicating here, that just as Jonah was dead, so shall he be, for three days, and three nights! He told about the sign of Jonah in other places also [Matt. 16:4; and Luke 11:29].
Well, we now come to the gospel of John. This time, I too want to start before Jesus’ death. Remember, earlier I said he picked his time to die, and we will see that more here. This really covers totally different material than the other three Gospels, but it is important. Jesus knew from his knowledge of God’s Holy Word that he had completed and fulfilled the Scriptures concerning himself. This is obvious, according to verse 28 below. WOW! What a verse!
John 19:28–37 (NIV)
28 Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken [Exod. 12:46; Num. 9:12; Ps. 34:20, all concern Jesus because he was our Passover lamb, 1 Cor. 5:7],” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced [Zech. 12:10].”
My purpose in showing the verses above was so that you could see the importance of us understanding what Jesus meant in the gospel of John.
John 5:39 (KJV)
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,
Jesus wants us to know him, and in order to do that, you need to be able to see him throughout both the Hebrew Scriptures, as well as the Christian Scriptures. Here, we see Jesus knew when he had fulfilled Scripture, so he knew when to die. He redeemed us, but then look at what God did! God at the moment of Jesus’ death went to work, and letting the Jews know they were wrong. He let many people [Romans and Jews] see the miracles. He darkened the sun, caused earthquakes, split rocks open, tore the curtain in two pieces, broke open the tombs, and raised the holy dead! What a team this Father and Son Family Practice really is! I am so blessed to be a part of Their family, and I hope you are too!