The cross and the events surrounding it foreshadowed the greatest miracle and revelation in history. Around the time of Jesus’ death, the following things occurred:
- There was darkness over the land from the 6th – 9th hour
- He died at the 9th hour, after crying out loudly “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” (“My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” [Mark 15:34], “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” [Luke 23:46]
- The veil of the temple was torn in two, top to bottom
- There was an earthquake [Matthew 27:51]
- Many saints came out from the graves, went to the Holy City, and appeared to many [Matthew 27:52-53]
- The centurion received revelation that Christ was the Son of God
DISCOVER: The glory of the cross
What is the significance of the events surrounding Jesus’ death? What do they say about the purpose of the cross?
Darkness over the land – Jesus came to be the light in the darkness, to bring us into His light, and into the revelation and knowledge of the Father.
[John 12:44-46] – “Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”
The temple veil torn – The veil marked the entrance to the holy presence of God. The presence of God was so holy that any unclean being that entered behind the veil, was destroyed, even some of the priests. That is why Leviticus gave instructions about sacrifices, and rituals – that the Israelites could follow these in order to dwell in close proximity to God’s holy presence. When Jesus died on the cross, His blood atoned for all sin so that those who believed in Him could be covered by His righteousness. In other words, the veil was torn because at the cross, Jesus made a way for all men to enter the presence of God.
[Hebrews 10:19-22] – “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the God of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
The earthquake – In Haggai 2:6-7, God speaks about shaking the heavens and the earth, the sea and dry land, and all the nations that they would “come to the Desire of All Nations”. The earthquake reminds us that we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and one which will last forever – our God, King forever.
[Hebrews 12:28] – “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”
The saints from the grave – this is reminiscent of a passage in Ezekiel 37 which speaks about God bringing His people up from their graves [ Ezekiel 37:13-14]. There is also a passage in Revelation which speaks about the resurrection of the saints [Revelation 20:4-6]. At the cross, Christ made a way for us to have eternal life, to be raised from the grave, and to be lifted up into the presence of God.
[Romans 6:8-11] – “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all, but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead, indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Revelation of Christ – Ultimately, the cross makes known to us the Christ, the Messiah, the Lamb of God. Here, Jesus, the Son of God, died for our sins, rendering us holy that we might dwell in the presence of God.
[Revelation 12:10-11] – “Then I heard a loud voice from saying in heaven, “New salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”