Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:45-46)
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.” (Matthew 27:50-51)
This week, we are studying The Miracles of Calvary. Three of them are mentioned in these verses. We have already looked at the darkness and the tearing of the temple curtain. Today’s focus is the earthquake.
They didn’t have the Richter scale back then, but we know it was powerful enough to split rocks! We don’t know how far the earthquake extended, but it’s logical to assume that its epicenter was at the Cross.
Earthquakes happen often in nature, so how do we know this one was special? It happened at the moment of Jesus’ death, around the same time as the darkness and the tearing of the curtain. It coincided with Christ’s shout of victory, and it was an “intelligent” quake. Most earthquakes leave a messy path of destruction, but this one was very precise. It was strong enough to split rocks, but it did not shake down the Cross. It was strong enough to open graves, but it only opened the graves of the saints! (We will talk about that later in the series.)
Why did God choose to highlight the sacrifice of Jesus in this way? Was He just drawing attention to the scene? Was He showing His anger at what they had just done to His Son? I don’t believe so. There is an Old Testament passage that gives us a clue about the earthquake.
On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. (Exodus 19:16-18)
That sounds like an earthquake! This happened just before God gave Moses the Law, which included the Ten Commandments. That Law revealed God’s perfect standard for how people should live. It showed them what they had to do to please God. His holiness was so powerful that when He met with them, the mountain trembled.
I believe that the earthquake at the Cross was Calvary’s answer to Sinai. On Mount Sinai, God showed us His perfect standard for living. At Calvary, God showed us the only Person who has ever perfectly obeyed that standard. Mount Sinai shook when God’s Law was revealed, and Calvary shook when God’s Law was fulfilled.
Today’s Good News is that Jesus obeyed God’s Law perfectly, and then died on the Cross to pay the penalty for lawbreakers. If you acknowledge your own sin, and trust Him as your Saviour, you will be forgiven, and actually be credited with His perfect record. How awesome is that!
I am going to leave you today with a verse. I encourage you to read it slowly, thinking carefully about every word. Reflect on this for the rest of the day:
For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Now, go share the Good News…
Today’s devotional is Part #3 of a series on The Miracles of Calvary. I invite you to return every day this week, as we continue our Easter series.
An important source for this series was a book by William R. Nicholson called The Six Miracles of Calvary.
If this is your first visit to this website, please read the “Featured Post” from March 1, 2018.