A couple of blog posts back, I mentioned that I had decided to read through the gospels over summer (here). Guess what? I just made it to the end of Matthew!
At the end of Matthew comes the account of the crucifixion, and I wanted to share some of the verses I found really striking.
1. Matthew 27:24-25
24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”
As I was reading this, I suddenly thought about my part in this story. The sentence that the people reply with is something that is true said from my own mouth. I’m still processing how I feel about that.
2. Matthew 27:51-53
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and[a] went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
So basically, I had completely forgotten about the whole holy-people-raised-to-life thing. Not sure how haha but I had a ‘woah there’ moment as I was reading, a moment of awe just at the power of God. Also, as an aside, there is a great song called Curtains (the name coming from verse 53) by Harvest. I would definitely recommend giving it a listen (here) because the lyrics are absolute perfection, it is so focused on the meaning of the Cross.
3. Matthew 27:54
54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
This exclamation just gets me. I can’t even explain the feeling I have when I read that line, but I am sure I am only feeling a fraction of the mixture of the emotions of that centurion and those around him. That new-found certainty at seeing the crucifixion is recognisable to me. When I am lost and doubting I always come back to the cross. Because I can never find a suitable alternative explanation for the events surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection apart from what is written in the Bible. I am so thankful that my God is gracious enough to have chosen to reveal himself in a historical way that is able to counter at least some of my cynicism and doubts. And I am so thankful for the grace afforded to me through the Cross.