(Vs 52) ". . . . 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". Matthew 27. (NIV)
The text reveals to us that certain graves were opened by the earthquake at the death of Christ, and that the dead bodies arose and came out of them AFTER Christ Himself had risen, and that they went into Jerusalem, and appeared to many. This is a statement of one of the grandest miracles, a gigantic piece of supernaturalism, supernatural in the sense of  being wholly miraculous.
Matthew, though writing under inspiration, is so excited about these occurring events, that while he is writing about the darkness, the veil torn, the earthquake, graves opened, he jumps forward to the time of Christ's resurrection to mention the bodies of many saints coming out of the graves! The opening of the tombs was at the time of the earthquake, but the bodies coming forth from the graves was at the time of Christ's resurrection! The statement of  bodies resurrecting from the graves is not obscure,  but it stands clear and as plain as light of day. It is designed to stand in close connection with the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. It all falls in line with the whole teaching of salvation. This happening at Christ's resurrection is expressing a pledge of the coming resurrection, when, from all the grave yards in the world, where ever the mortal remains of a saint may lie, the corruptible shall put on incorruption, and the mortal shall put on immortality!!
The text to which we are giving our attention is an amazing example of where the inspired writer is on one hand struck speechless in stark amazement, yet in parallel he can not write or speak fast enough, he is so excited. It seems Matthew is overly impatient to wait in relating his account of the Gospel to wait until Jesus' own resurrection to tell of "many of the holy people . . . . came out of the tombs". Impatiently Matthew jumps ahead and inserts this miracle at the point of the opening of the tombs! This brief statement in Matthew 27:52,53 is absolutely the whole of what he says! He says nothing more - not who they are - not how many. Did they go to the houses of people or merely walk the streets? Did they appear only once, or from time to time during our Savior's 40 days appearing? Did they speak of the realms of the dead or of Christ's recent entrance into where they were? How and when did they finally disappear?  No hint of any of these.
There is no indication that any of those risen saints of old were recognized. Yet, Moses and Elijah were recognized by the disciples at Christ's transfiguration, though the disciples had never seen them. The rich man and Lazarus recognized Abraham, though they had never seen him. The only thing implied by Matthew is that the risen holy people (saints) were manifestly made known as persons risen from the dead. Of such a brief news break, what can we say? Did ever a myth in all the range of fiction, such as Zany Grey, Edgar Allen Poe, etc; have so brief a setting? I must conclude that the silence of our text is just about as wonderful as the fact itself. Never could a mere human pen have said so much, yet have said so little!
There are two kinds of resurrections exhibited in scripture. There are six resurrections which were only restorations of the natural body:
1. The son of the widow at Zarephath - I Kings 17:19-23.
2. The Shunammite's son. II Kings 4
3. The resurrection caused by the bones of Elisha. II Kings 13
4. The daughter of Jairus' daughter. Matthew 9:18-26
5. The son of the widow in Nain. Luke 7:11-15
6. Lazarus. John 11:1-43
Then in I Corinthians 15, Paul was speaking of an entirely different kind of resurrection of the body promised to us in the day of the Lord's coming. ". . . . The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. . . . ."  I Corinthians 15:42-44 (NIV) That is the resurrection of the body proper -- the true rising from the dead.
In which of these two categories do we place the resurrection in our text of Matthew 27? Were their bodies instances of the resurrection body according to I Corinthians 15, spiritual, incorruptible, immortal? Or were the natural bodies revived, like the body of Lazarus? Does the Bible help us derive to find the answer? First Corinthians 15 tells us that all who are Christ's shall be made alive in the resurrection described in verse 22. Then the apostle declares, "But each in his own turn . . . " Vs 23 (order - KJV). "Christ the first fruits . . . ".  And those of us who are Christ's when? ". . . . then WHEN HE COMES, those who belong to Him." (NIV) The KJV reads, ". . . afterwards , they that are Christ's AT HIS COMING."  After that, what? "Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the father after he has destroyed all dominion. . . . " Vs 24. (NIV)
Remember and mark this well: the apostle does not say only such as may not have risen before shall thus rise -- his language is absolute and all inclusive -- "they that are Christ's" without making any exception. All belonging to Christ shall rise -- all who are His out of all ages of time. It is clear, therefore, none of Christ's people have ever had a spiritual immortal body, and shall not until His coming. No one shall precede another; no one shall be perfected before another. Hence those Calvary graveyard saints are awaiting their spiritual immortal bodies with us.
"They that are Christ's at His coming". No one member of the Body of Christ, the church, shall have been glorified before another. Whether ones remains be under the snows of Colorado mountains or under the burning sands of the Sahara, they shall all, be ushered into the fullness of eternal life. The entire body of Christian brotherhood, at once from all ages and eons of time, shall at the same moment, stand in the finished beauty and glory of the Creator and King of the Universe.
If God had other purposed designed to accomplish by the Calvary resurrection of a few saints, we do not know. But we do know Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and life. . . " John 11:25 (NIV) He proved the historical truth of that statement with the resurrection of Lazarus, which is but a shadow of the true. The entire event of the Calvary miracles were but symbols: the three hours of darkness symbolized the weightiness of sin; the tearing of the temple veil symbolized no longer needing a high priest to enter the Holiest of Holies; the earthquake symbolized man's powerlessness in the presence of sin; the open graves symbolized God's power to bring forth the dead; Jesus' grave clothes symbolized Jesus' power to pass through any material, cloth or stone, PLUS leaving a reminder I WILL RETURN; the saints coming from the tombs set forth the harmonious completion of  Christ's wondrous group of Calvary miracles. Thus what an impression is made upon us of the grandeur of God's plan. The final resurrection will be a sublime event!

a Thought Across The Garden Gate by Parson Don.

RETURN TO DEVOTIONAL PART 5                                     RETURN TO DON'S HOME PAGE



Updated April 9, 2010
© 2009-2020 by Donald R. "Don" Brown, of Farmington, MO - U.S.A.

This site may be freely linked, but not duplicated in any way without permission
Each devotional was written by Parson Don Brown, and inspired under God's Direction

Website design by Marv



Thoughts Across the Garden Gate Devotionals by Don Brown How to beat cancer naturally