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Summary: In our text we see the singularly most important and impressive truth of the resurrection is a cemetery filled with graves which men were powerless to close. These graves were opened at the time that Jesus died; but those inside the graves would not come

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EASTER: THE GRAVES THAT COULDN’T BE SHUT

TEXT: MATTHEW 27:50-54

INTRODUCTION: Let me begin by reviewing the sermon that I gave two weeks ago titled “Was Jesus Crucified On Good-Friday?” If you still have your chart, please take a look as I remind us of the timeline.

We learned from Lev. 23 that there were other Sabbaths beside the weekly Sabbath. The seven feasts were also considered to be Sabbaths with the same restrictions as the weekly.

We saw in John 19:31 31The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

This verse tells us that the Sabbath John was talking about was a high Sabbath, the Passover Sabbath. The Passover Sabbath was always followed by the Feast Of Unleavened Bread Sabbath.

The Passover Sabbath was always on the same date, the 14th of Nisan. The second The Feast Of Unleavened Bread Sabbath on the 15th of Nisan. So every year these Sabbaths fell on a different day of the week. Only the weekly Sabbath of course stayed the same, Saturday. At every Passover there were two Sabbaths back to back, there were no exceptions.

According to Unger’s Bible Dictionary: Whenever the Passover fell on the regular weekly Sabbath (Saturday), the sacrifice was slain at 1:30 P.M. and offered at 2:30 P.M. on Friday to be finished before sundown on Friday, the beginning of the regular Sabbath.

If the Passover Sabbath fell on Friday, the sacrifice was slain at 12:30 P.M. and offered at 1:30 P.M. on Thursday.

However, on all other days the Passover sacrifice was slain at 2:30 P.M. and offered at 3:30 P.M. on the day previous to the Passover Sabbath itself.

Consider: Jesus was three days and three nights in the tomb. When daylight arrived on the first day of the week, the tomb was already empty (we know He was entombed in the evening, not in the morning).

Consequently, He arose at 6:00 P.M. at the end of the weekly Sabbath which is also the beginning of the first day of the week.

This fixes the time of His death at 3:00 P.M. on Wednesday and His entombment by 6:00 P.M. on the same day.

It should be clear that what we have at the passion of Jesus is not one, not two, but three Sabbaths all in a row. Thursday, the Passover Sabbath; Friday, the Feast of Unleavened Bread Sabbath; and Saturday, the seventh-day weekly Sabbath.

The Jewish day begins at 6:00 P.M. not 12:00 midnight as ours does. It runs from 6:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. So when it is 6:00 P.M. Wed. by our reckoning to the Jews Thursday is beginning.

II. HOW MANY HOURS IN A DAY?

Mat 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

How long is a day? Can just a part of a day be counted as a full day? Listen to Jesus again because He is the one who divided the light from the darkness.

Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.


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