Surely he was the Son of God! Matthew 27:54
“God is crying.” Those were the words whispered by Bill Haley’s ten-year-old daughter as she stood in the rain with a group of multiethnic believers in Jesus. They had come to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley to seek God and make sense of the legacy of racial discord in America. As they stood on the grounds where former slaves were buried, they joined hands in prayer. Then suddenly the wind began to blow, and it started to rain. As the leader called out for racial healing, the rain began to fall even harder. Those gathered believed that God was at work to bring reconciliation and forgiveness.
And so was it at Calvary—God was at work. After the crucified Jesus breathed His last, “The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open” (Matthew 27:51–52). Though some had denied who Jesus was, a centurion assigned to guard Him had come to a different conclusion: “When the centurion and those with him . . . saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’ ” (v. 54).
In the death of Jesus, God was at work providing forgiveness of sin for all who believe in Him. “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). And what better way to demonstrate that we’ve been forgiven by God than to extend forgiveness to each other.
In what ways have you shared the forgiveness you’ve received from God with others, even those who are different from you? If you haven’t received forgiveness from God through the death of Jesus, what’s keeping you from doing so today?
Father, thank You for loving the world so much that You sent Jesus so I can be forgiven. Help me to demonstrate forgiveness toward others by the way I live.
Matthew records three events and their aftereffects that occurred at the moment of Jesus’ death (Matthew 27:51–53). First, the temple curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place was torn from top to bottom. Many theologians have written that this symbolized God removing the barrier that separated people from His presence (only the high priest was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place, and only once a year with a blood sacrifice). Second, there was an earthquake. This caused rocks to split and tombs to open. An earthquake was a fitting response of creation to the death of its Creator. Finally, after Jesus’ resurrection, the dead from the open tombs were brought back to life and entered the city—another fitting result. When the Giver of life defeated death, the power that raised Him spread to others who had died.