Summary: A look at the four miracles that happened at the death of Jesus (darkness, veil, earthquake, and the resurrected saints) and what the spiritual significance of each was.
- We often preach about the amazing things that accompanied Jesus’ resurrection from the death. The scene on Easter morning certainly deserves attention from us.
- It’s not just the resurrection of Jesus that had miracles though. The death of Jesus also was accompanied by miracles as well.
- These miracles are not random – they serve as signs for us.
GIVE ME A SIGN: A sign usually both has an immediate point and points to a larger truth.
- Let’s look back at Matthew 20:29-34 for an example.
- Jesus is leaving Jericho when a pair of blind men ask Him to give them sight. He touches their eyes and they are healed.
- This is clearly a sign.
- The immediate point is that Jesus has power over physical sickness. He can literally make the blind see. This is extraordinary and points people toward believing that Jesus is the Son of God, as He claims.
- There is also a larger truth. Jesus is healing someone’s physical blindness. He wants people to be able to see. Throughout the gospels we see many people (especially religious leaders) who claim to have spiritual insight but whom Jesus declares to be clueless. They are spiritually blind. The ability of Jesus to restore physical sight is an impressive miracle and sign but also points us toward a larger truth that He has come to give spiritual sight. He wants us to understand God clearly and see Him as He is.
THE IMMEDIATE POINT FOR THE FOUR MIRACLES SURROUNDING JESUS' DEATH: This was no ordinary death.
- We’re going to dig into all four of the miracles here in a moment, but for now let’s ask what the immediate point was in these four miracles at Jesus’ death. The point was to affirm that this was no ordinary death. They were present to make abundantly clear that there was something unusual going on here.
- It has its intended effect. We read in verse 54 that when the centurions saw what all was happening, they were terrified and proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of God. Remember that these are men who had no reservation just a few hours before about nailing Jesus to the cross. They were certainly a hard crowd to convince, but the miracles (as well as Jesus’ behavior on the cross) had thoroughly convinced them. It all added up to the intended immediate point: this was a death unlike any other.
THE LARGER POINTS TO THE FOUR MIRACLES:
1. The physical darkness was symbolic of the darkest moral moment in human history.
- Verse 45 tells us that darkness came over the land for three hours. This happened from noon until 3 p.m.
- Now, because this story is familiar to us, it’s common for us to read right past this as though it’s nothing. It was dark for three hours in the middle of the day! Talk about an unavoidable sign!
- We’ve all had moments when we walked outside and because of unusual weather the lighting is all wrong. It’s doesn’t look like it normally does and that immediately gets our attention. “What’s going on?” we wonder and begin to look for an explanation for the change. This was much more profound than that – it wasn’t merely unusual lighting, it was darkness.
- And it didn’t just happen for a minute – it lasted for 180 minutes. The final three hours that Jesus was on the cross were engulfed in darkness. It’s not until His death (Matthew 27:46-50) that the darkness lifts.
- So what’s the larger point? I think the physical darkness was symbolic of the spiritual darkness.
- This was the darkest moment in human history. Why do we say that? Because in those moments the perfect, sinless Son of God had all of the sins of humanity laid upon Him.
- Look back with me at Isaiah 53 for some key verses. Look at verses 4, 5, and 12.
- Verse 12 is particularly telling. It speaks of Him bearing our sins. It means that every single sin that had ever been committed by every single human in all of the time that humanity had and would spend on earth was laid on Him at the cross.
- Think of the sense of spiritual darkness that can settle on you when you’ve done one sin that deeply bothers you. Now multiply that by all of the sins that have ever been committed. Such darkness!