Three Days that Changed the World
It is the day of the crucifixion of Jesus.
“About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).” Matthew 27:45 – 46
“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 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!” Matthew 27:50 – 54
Please focus on three points in this passage.
First, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
At that moment, all of the sins of all of mankind – past, present, and future – were placed upon Jesus. And, for the only time in all of eternity, God the Father and God the Son were separated from each other.
Because God is holy, He can have absolutely no fellowship with sin. Therefore, when all of the filth of all of our sin was placed upon Jesus, God the Father broke his fellowship with God the Son. Jesus was forsaken by God, so that we might never be forsaken by God. Jesus took our place. Jesus took our punishment. Jesus voluntarily became our substitute on the cross. And, God now sees in each of us the righteousness of Christ when we place our faith in the death of Christ as the payment for the penalty of our sins.
While Jesus was on the cross, the great exchange took place. Jesus took upon himself our sin. And, Jesus handed to each of us the opportunity to take upon ourselves His righteousness – the righteousness of God.
As written by the apostle John, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
Second, “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” Matthew 27:51
The curtain of the temple separated the Holy of Holies from the outer portions of the temple. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies. And, he could do so only once a year to make the required sacrifice for the sins of all of the Jewish people. It was indeed the most Holy Place on planet earth.
The curtain was 60 feet in height. The curtain was four inches thick. When Jesus died, it was torn from top to bottom to make it absolutely clear that it was the God of heaven (not any man) who tore the curtain in two.
The tearing of the curtain was a symbolic act of God to make it clear that salvation comes from God – not from man. It was God’s way of telling all of mankind that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross has now made it possible for all people everywhere to be made holy and righteous without the need for intervention by any human priest. Now, every man, woman, and child on planet earth has direct access to God through faith in the death of Jesus for the payment of the penalty of our sin. Jesus is the one and only sacrificial lamb of God who has taken away the sin of the world.
The removal of the curtain which blocked access to the Holy of Holies was also God’s way of telling us that the blood of animals cannot take away sin. With the death of Jesus, the sacrificial system of the Old Testament was brought to an end.
Sin entered into the world by the rebellion of the first Adam – and death came because of sin. Now, righteousness had entered into the world by the obedience of the second Adam – that is, Christ. And now, eternal life is offered to all who believe in Jesus as the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
“Consequently, just as one trespass (the sin of Adam) resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act (the death of Jesus) resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man (Jesus) the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:18 – 19
Thirdly and finally, as noted in verses 52 – 53 of Matthew 27, “…and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.”
On the day of the crucifixion, many deceased Old Testament believers were raised to life. And, as noted in that passage, these resurrected saints went into the holy city on the third day – which is the day of the resurrection of Christ.
This Sunday, all of the followers of Christ who are alive on planet earth will worship our God who is also our personal risen Savior.
As written in the Apostle’s Creed: “Christ was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. From there, He will come again to judge the living and the dead.”
He is Lord. He is Lord. He is risen from the dead and He is Lord! Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus is Risen.
He is Risen Indeed.
You think about that! Amen.
Yours in Christ,
If you have never trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, now is the time to do so. When you place your trust in the death of Christ as payment for the penalty of your sins, you are “born again.” And, once you have been “born again”, this means that you will live forever in the presence of Christ. However, if you reject the salvation which is offered to you by the shed blood of Jesus on the cross, then you are making your personal choice to die and go to hell. Hell was not created for humans. Hell was created to be a place of eternal punishment for Satan and his demons. God does not send any humans to hell. The only humans who go to hell are those who choose to go to hell by rejecting the love of God and by rejecting the death of Christ on the cross as the only way to receive right standing with God. The choice is yours. If you do not want to go to hell, if you want to have eternal life, and if you want to accept Jesus as your Savior, then pray this prayer:
Jesus, You died upon a cross
And rose again to save the lost
Forgive me now of all my sin
Come be my Savior, Lord, and Friend
Change my life and make it new
And help me, Lord, to live for You.
If you prayed that prayer and you sincerely mean it, then you are now a child of God and you will live forever. The next step is to start attending a Bible-believing church so that you may “grow up in your salvation” and become the person that God created you to be.
Welcome to God’s family!
“May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”
© 2020 Nicholas Cook