THE DEATH OF JESUS
Good Shepherd, lead me today as one of your sheep, feed me from your Word, and allow me to drink from your water of life.
Read MATTHEW 27:45–56
The Death of Jesus
45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[a] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[b]
47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and[c] went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph,[d] and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
- Matthew 27:46 Some manuscripts Eloi, Eloi
- Matthew 27:46 Psalm 22:1
- Matthew 27:53 Or tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they
- Matthew 27:56 Greek Joses, a variant of Joseph
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectBeing present when someone dies is always humbling. Let us humble ourselves today as we watch the Lord Jesus breathe his last.
How could God turn away from the Lord Jesus dying unjustly and helplessly on the cross? Surely the Father could not forsake his beloved Son in his hour of need? But he did. That is exactly what happened. That is the depth of horror that is Good Friday. Jesus shouts out the pain of his forsakenness in the words of Psalm 22, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (v 46). A profound mystery indeed. How serious is sin if it required the death of the eternal Son to expunge it? How deep is divine love, in that it went to such lengths for people like us?
We will not be the first readers to be puzzled by some of the details of Matthew’s narrative: darkness in the afternoon (v 45), earthquake (v54), graves splitting open, bodies raised to life and appearing in the holy city (vs 51–53). These may seem more suited to the Day of the Lord and the supernatural beginnings of a new age. Perhaps that is the point. Good Friday is that supernatural new beginning. God massively intervened.
At the moment Jesus died, the temple’s heavy barrier curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom (vs 50,51). This barrier into the Holy of Holies was comprehensively destroyed. The message was clear. Jesus’ death had opened the kingdom of heaven so that all may go in.
‘Hallelujah! What a Savior!’*
Jesus died for me. Today, hope is mine, life is mine, heaven is mine, blessings beyond blessings are mine. Hallelujah, what a Savior.
*‘Man of Sorrows’, P Bliss (1838–1876).
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