Online Bible Commentary
He is Risen!
Matthew 27:45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" 47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, "This Man is calling for Elijah!" 48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. 49 The rest said, "Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him." 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God!" (NKJV)
As Jesus was hanging on the cross on that Good Friday, from noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land (v. 45). That God would cause darkness during this time was very significant.
Jesus is the light that came into the world, but darkness always refers to sin. Jesus said “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). It took three hours for all the sin of the world to come through the darkness to land on Jesus.
Throughout all the torture He endured, including being nailed to the cross, Jesus never cried out. But after three hours, the sin burden upon Jesus was so incredibly heavy that He must have felt the weight of the world upon His shoulders, and He cried out to His Father “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me” (v. 46)?
Some of those present thought He was “calling out for Elijah” (v. 47). Another saw that He was thirsty and cruelly offered Jesus “sour wine” (v. 48). And “the rest” insulted His divinity by taunting Him saying "Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him" (v. 49).
Then Jesus “yielded up His spirit” to the Father and died (v. 50). His life was not taken from Him by man; He willingly gave up his life to pay the sin debt for all of mankind so that, for those who believe, they could abide with Him eternally.
As if we needed any more evidence that this was indeed the Son of God, many more miracles occurred at the time of Jesus’ death. At 3:00 p.m., while the Priests were engaged in the afternoon sacrifice, they witnessed the great curtain of the tabernacle that separated the Holy of Holies from the people (only priests could enter) was supernaturally torn in two signifying that man could now come directly to God, instead of through a priest. The tearing of this sixty by thirty foot curtain represented the tearing of the body of Jesus (Heb. 10:19-20). Also, there was an earthquake, rocks split, tombs opened, bodies of believers were resurrected and they walked the streets and appeared to many people (vv. 51-53).
After seeing all of these miracles, the centurion and the guards exclaimed “Truly this was the Son of God” (v. 54)! Those eye witnesses knew exactly who Jesus was. The evidence was overwhelming! And yet still some did not believe.
Many people today will believe their history books, which are written by men, but they will not believe the history of the death and resurrection of Jesus, which was written by God. No matter how much evidence is produced, most people will stubbornly choose to not believe. That is why the gate to Heaven is narrow.
But on this Easter those of us who have chosen to believe celebrate! We celebrate that we have a Savior. We celebrate that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins so that we may have eternal life in Heaven. And we celebrate that He is risen, to give us the promise that we too will be resurrected and will join Him and our loved ones in everlasting life!