PART FOUR - Miraculous Opening Of Graves
This is the fourth in the Six Miracles of Calvary series, with the opening of the graves. The disturbance of the grave yard, if you will, has a distinct place and importance of its own in the Miracles of Calvary. But, let us first read the facts as stated in Matthew 27: Vs 50 - "And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit." - Vs 51 "At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split." - Vs 52 "The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people (saints - KJV) who had died were raised to life" - Vs 53 "They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people."
Thus it was by means of the earthquake that the graves were opened. And we may infer that most, if not all of them, were situated at or about Calvary. As alluded to in a previous devotional, the earthquake would be likely most violent at the point of its origin -- the seat of the disturbing influence. And that there was a graveyard at Calvary is certain because Joseph's tomb was near in which Jesus was laid. Plus right after His resurrection Mary met Him in the Garden. It is also by necessary inference, clear that the graves were rocky sepulchers --excavations in the rocks, and that their entrances were made secure by doors of stone, for the two statements, "the rocks split" and "the tombs broke open" are connected.

At the moment Christ gave forth the shout of victory was the happening of the earthquake. The moment Christ died, the graves opened. BUT THE BODIES DID NOT RESURRECT until Christ's own resurrection AFTER His third day in the grave. Matthew 27:53 (NIV)

So victorious was the death of our Savior Jesus Christ that the earth itself could not delay its rejoicing. How asserting is the miraculous! This was one of the mightiest and most precious testimonies to the victory of the death of Jesus Christ. The fact that the graves were opened at the instant of Christ's death, but the resurrections did not take place until after the third day shows that the opened graves were meant for an exhibition. The graves were left open from the time of burial 6 P.M. Wednesday as Thursday began until the end of the Sabbath at 6 P.M. as Sunday began.
Someone may ask: why were the graves opened at all? What kind of resurrection were these? Were these resurrections, as in the case of Lazarus, their bodies merely revived? Jesus in His risen body passed through walls when the doors were shut and locked. Jesus' resurrected body had spiritual powers, thus could pass through walls. His was a true resurrection. With Lazarus, Jesus asked that the stone doors be rolled away. Hence, Lazarus' body was a revived body, not a spiritual body. When the disciples came to Jesus' grave, the angels removed the stone doors, not for Jesus to exit, but for the disciples to see He had already resurrected and passed through the stone. Hence, the stone doors of the graves were  opened for two reasons: so thousands of spectators could look in and see; and so at the end of Christ's three days and three nights in the grave, the saints could walk out the grave, as they would be reconstituted bodies, but not spiritual bodies.
In the sense spoken of in I Corinthians 15, the saints who rose at Calvary, was not an expression of the victory in Christ. Their walking from their graves was a reconstitution of their natural bodies. Their bodies were not spiritual therefore the graves had to be opened. This was not their final resurrection, same as Lazarus' coming from the grave was not in a spiritual body, therefore not his final resurrection. At Christ's death enough graves were opened to furnish a specimen of the power of the Cross, then their walking out at Christ's resurrection was not their final resurrection.
The dying of Jesus Christ, who had no sin of His own, was His bearing for His people the penalty of sin. Therefore, Christ's death opened the graves because His death destroyed the power of death. The power of death is sin. Death entered the world by sin, and is the penalty of sin. Therefore the death of Christ, which destroyed death, opened the graves. Christ was made a curse for us (Gal. 3:13), so that we could be redeemed from the curse. The death-power of sin was broken when Christ died, thus He exhausted the penalty of sin in our behalf,  and made it possible to take away from us all the condemnation of sin.
Christ's death is our sin PARDONED. Christ's resurrection is the receipted certificate of the PARDON. His death was Hades OPENED. His resurrection is Hades made EMPTY. Christ's death is the grave TORN asunder. His resurrection is the dead bodies of His saints WALKING forth from their graves into life incorruptible and eternal.
The only thing left for the unrepentant sinner to do is he must RSVP -- that is the sinner must accept God's invitation by accepting Jesus' shed blood on the cross. When a person does this - man, woman or child, their eternal destiny is sealed.

a Thought Across The Garden Gate by Parson Don.




Updated March 30, 2010
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