In the final three hours Jesus hung on the cross, darkness hung over the land, symbolic of the spiritual darkness in the hearts of men and the absolute darkness of sin upon all of mankind. When Jesus yielded up his spirit on the cross at Golgotha, three most notable things happened.
Matthew 27: 51 "And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked and the rocks were split." First, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The veil was not a gossamer-thin cloth one might imagine when the word "veil" is mentioned, but inches thick, strong and sturdy, sort of like a phone book. The veil was meant to keep people out and God in! Except for one priest chosen by lot to enter once a year. But now God and man would no longer separated by sin!
Second, the earth quaked and the rocks were split. An earthquake strong enough to split rocks into pieces would surely have done more damage as well. When Jesus breathed His last breath on earth and paid for all our sins, a monumental change in the universe occurred. Death, Hell and the grave were conquered. Complete victory over the bondage of sin!
Third, in Matthew 27:52-43, "The graves were opened and many of the bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after the resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many." Can you imagine that? Hollywood always skips over that part in Biblical movies. It's too incredible, even for them!
But here's something even more incredible. Take a look in Exodus. "And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solumne oath saying, 'God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here with you.'"--Exodus 13:19. Though Joseph's body was prepared in the manner of the Egyptians, he left explicit instructions before he died, that someday when his people left Egypt, they would carry his bones with them. Why? Was it simply a desire for his bones to rest in the presence of his people? Most likely--yes. But perhaps God had given Joseph something more--a glimpse of things to come, or a revelation in his heart. Regardless, the bones of Joseph left Egypt and traveled with the children of Israel until they settled in the Promised Land. And there, just as he expressed in his last desire before breathing his last, Joseph was buried...
What if Joseph was among those who's graves were opened during the earthquake? Can you imagine seeing Joseph walking around town, perhaps arrayed in his famous coat of many colors?
But if seeing Joseph come to life turned heads, imagine three days later seeing Jesus rise from the grave!
Jesus defeated death, Hell and the grave for us. That open grave is also symbolic of our own--your grave and mine. Eternal death no longer rules over us. All those who receive the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus will not be bound by a grave. In fact, no grave can ever hold you! Your eternal life began the moment you asked Jesus into your heart!
Thank you Jesus for sacrificing Your life for us. Forgiving us and for giving us eternal life!