Briefing: Are you afraid of dying? Do you know where you will spend eternity? Death is something we all have to face. The human condition is terminal. From the day we are born we are only given so long to live. There is only one cure, Jesus Christ.
Dispatch (Assignment): Read Matthew 27:45-61.
On the Street: Christ dying on the cross was, and is, the darkest event in the history of man. God is light. When He turned His back on the sin of all mankind, carried by Christ when He drank the cup of wrath, everything God ever created was cast into utter darkness. Jesus hung on the cross for three hours with the sin of man all over Him.
If this was how Jesus’ story ended, Christianity would be no different from any other religion. The difference is Christ rose from the dead! The best explanation was given by Jesus Himself in John 12:23-29. Jesus says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” A seed cannot come to life and grow unless it is put in the ground dead.
As soon as Jesus dies, life is changed, life is abundant. The dead come to life and the religious system dies. We see in verse fifty-two the tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. In the verse above, it says the temple veil was torn in two. The significance of this is all people have direct access to God through the sacrifice of Jesus.
Last but certainly not least, I believe the Roman Centurion is the first Christian convert. In verse fifty-four, his confession of, “surely He was the Son of God!” is a beautiful admission. I equate the Roman soldiers of that time to being the local law enforcement of Jerusalem and any other place they occupied. I love the thought of a law enforcement officer being the first Christian. I may be completely wrong about that but I don’t think so.
Highlights from this Read: The events in 27:45-56 occurred between 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Jesus died on Passover. The Passover celebration required the killing of a lamb to protect the firstborn of Israel. Jesus was the lamb. In verse forty-six, Jesus calls His Father, “God”. It is the first time in the Bible where Jesus calls Him anything other than Father. Jesus was separated from God as prophesied in Isaiah 59:2.
Investigational Resources: For other gospel accounts, see Mark 15:33-41, Luke 23:44-49 and John 19:29-30.
Officer Safety Principle: Are you a Christian law enforcement officer? If not, now is the time to make your confession about Christ. See the page on this website titled, “Do you know Jesus?”
from The Gospel of Matthew Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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