The Giver of Life: Matthew 27:45-53

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As we near the end of our year podcasting through the miracles Jesus did in the gospels, most lists of miracles only have one miracle left, specifically a miracle that John’s gospel includes that happens after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. However, if we held real closely to the standard list of miracles, we’d miss some amazing miracles that are not often thought of as miracles.

The first of these amazing events comes to us in Matthew’s gospel as Jesus takes His last breath. While the idea of God becoming human, and God as a human actually dying is miraculous in itself, what happens when Jesus gives up His life is nothing short of miraculous.

Let’s read about what happened, and about what we can learn from the moment Jesus gave up His life. Our passage is found in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 27, and we will read it from the God’s Word translation. Starting in verse 45, Matthew tells us that:

45 At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46 About three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” 47 When some of the people standing there heard him say that, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” 48 One of the men ran at once, took a sponge, and soaked it in some vinegar. Then he put it on a stick and offered Jesus a drink. 49 The others said, “Leave him alone! Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

50 Then Jesus loudly cried out once again and gave up his life.

51 Suddenly, the curtain in the temple was split in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split open. 52 The tombs were opened, and the bodies of many holy people who had died came back to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after he had come back to life, and they went into the holy city where they appeared to many people.

In this passage, at the moment Jesus cried out and gave up His life, the curtain in the temple was split in two from top to bottom, and there was a massive earthquake that split open graves. These things are miraculous, but Matthew then describes the bodies of many holy people returning to life. While it isn’t clear if they were resurrected at the moment Jesus gave up His life or at the moment when Jesus returned to life, there is no denying that those present in the first century would have this date fixed in their minds.

Matthew’s gospel leading up to Jesus’ death isn’t as descriptive as some of the other gospels. Luke’s gospel described how Jesus has a conversation and promise for one of the criminals hanging next to Him. John’s gospel includes details surrounding Jesus connecting His mother with John the disciple. However, Matthew’s gospel includes a powerful theme related to who Jesus is that none of the other gospel writers included here at Jesus’ death.

When we look at what happened on the cross, we see the life of a Life-Giver. When we look at Jesus, we see how His death brings resurrection. Jesus’ death is a source of life. Through the cross, Jesus gives life.

Jesus is the ultimate Life Giver.

Through the Godhead, we have been blessed with this thing called life. We have breath in our lungs because God gave it to us. While some people believe all this happened through random chance, no amount of random chance could result in what we have today. We are alive today because of God, and whether you believe God is simply responsible for starting this thing called life, or whether you believe He is instrumental in every life that is created, God gives life. Because God gives life and because Jesus is a member of the Godhead, there is a strong case that Jesus is responsible for our current life on this earth. As a member of the Godhead, Jesus the Life-Giver gives us our first life.

But Jesus didn’t stop giving. When the first life was messed up with sin, Jesus stepped into our history. Jesus gave up His life in heaven to come to earth as a human. Jesus could have easily recommended that humanity should be abandoned, but that choice is not within God’s character to make. Jesus, the Life-Giver, gave up His heavenly life because He wanted us to know what God truly is like.

However, even after giving up His heavenly life, Jesus didn’t stop giving. In this passage, Jesus continues giving by giving up His life for you and for me. Jesus gave up His life on the cross for us. Because Jesus loved us so much, and because He knew what the consequences of sin are, He chose to come to take the penalty we deserve to give us the opportunity of the reward He deserved. Through the cross, the Life-Giver gives us a second chance because He gave His life for us.

At His death, Jesus the Life-Giver’s death rippled through the earth and supernaturally returned the lives of holy people who had died nearby. We don’t know who, how many, or really anything beyond what Matthew shares with us here, but we cannot escape the amazing theme that Jesus the Life-Giver’s death brings His people new life. As followers of Jesus, we not only have a new life in our current situation, but we also have the promise of a perfect, eternal life when Jesus returns.

With this promise, we look forward to heaven, and with whatever happens between now and then, we can trust that with Jesus, our lives will be saved for eternity!

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

As always, be sure to intentionally seek God first and place your faith, hope, trust, and belief in Jesus and what He accomplished for us on the cross. Jesus is the Giver of life and because Jesus is so focused on giving, we would be wise to accept the gifts that He offers to us. One great way of saying thank you to God is by accepting the gifts that He offers to us.

Also, always pray and study the Bible for yourself to learn and grow closer to Jesus. While a pastor, speaker, author, or podcaster can give you ideas to think about, never let someone get between you and God. God has made a way for us to come to Him, and because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross, we are invited to come before God with our questions and requests directly. Don’t let anyone get between you and God.

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or fall away from where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Year of Miracles – Episode 47: When Jesus died on the cross, Matthew describes a miraculous event that many people might not think of when they think of the typical miracles of Jesus. However, in this event, we see an amazing picture of Jesus, of God, and of what God, through Jesus, offers to us when we come to Him.

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