Summary: A sermon on the earthquake at the cross of Calvary, Matthew 27:51
Sermon for 3/7/2010
The Earthquake- Matthew 27:41-54
Story of me being in an earthquake.
What is an earthquake? An earthquake is a shaking of the ground caused by the sudden breaking and movement of large sections of the earth's rocky outermost crust.
A. Darkness in the sky, curtain torn in tow, and now the earth is shaken.
B. Matthew is only gospel to record this earthquake.
B. This was a big earthquake. The centurion is vs. 54 is impressed by it. An aftershock would occur during the resurrection and this is called a violent earthquake (28:2).
A. This earthquake happened just to open the graves. More to it than that.
Thesis: What does this earthquake symbolize for the believer in Jesus Christ? 3 things this morning
1. It is Calvary answering Sinai.
A. From Mt. Sinai God gave His law. (Exo 19:17-18) Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently.
C. (Exo 20:18 NIV) When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance (Exo 20:19 NIV) and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die."
D. In this way God communicated the horror of sin and His hatred and intent to destroy it. But their sin permanently stained their lives, making it impossible for them to free themselves from its grip. The law that God gave revealed the sinfulness of man.
E. The terrors displayed on Sinai were a prophecy that Jesus Christ would do for us what we are helpless to do for ourselves. Christ endured the overwhelming weight of our sins and suffered those horrors of which the terrors of Sinai were but a picture.
F. (Gal 3:24-27 KJV) Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
G. One earthquake answered another. Sinai was God’s firm voice of condemnation; Calvary, God’s gentle, fatherly voice of pardon and peace.
H. (John 1:17 NIV) For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
2. The Rock of Christ was split
1. Palestine has many earthquakes, but this was no ordinary earthquake. It mentions that the rocks split. One commentator theorized that every rock on the earth began to crack. I find this hard to believe. Buildings would experience structural problems.
2. From what I know, this is talking about the rocks around Calvary. Travelers to Palestine might notice the extraordinary tears and fissures in the rocks near the spot of Calvary. Now rocks do split during an earthquake, but not all of them. Beneath the feet of the people the rocks literally began to break open. The rocks began to crack, and people began to fall into the crevices. This is a miracle.
3. One of my favorite descriptions of God and Jesus Christ is the Rock. When everything else is shifting sand, Christ is strong, stable and unmoving. “I go to the Rock of my salvation, I go to the stone that the builders rejected, I run to the mountain and the mountain stands by me. When all the earth around me is sinking sand, on Christ the Solid Rock I stand. When I need a shelter when I need a friend, I go to the Rock.”
4. On this day, symbolically, Christ the Rock was rent or split or cracked. Two reasons:
A. That the rivers of living water may flow.
1. Talking about the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. (Psa 78:15 NIV) He (God) split the rocks in the desert and gave them water as abundant as the seas
2. (1 Cor 10:4 NIV) and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
3. When Christ is rent, split (crucified), then the living waters flow. (John 4:10 NIV) Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
4. (Exo 17:6 NIV) I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink." So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.