(Study Outline sourced from “The System Bible Study” – “The Book of Life” [Zondervan])
14. The Death Of Christ And Related Events
“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” , one of the events recorded by Mark, Matthew and Luke is that the curtain that separated the Holy Place from The Most Holy Place in the Temple was torn from the top to the bottom, signifying that the death of our Lord Jesus provided a direct and open access for all believers to God’s presence. The writer to the Hebrews expands on this by stating “…the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made..He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. Therefore….. let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith….” .
The other event is found only in Matthew’s record; “The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.” . Matthew Henry’s Commentary gives us some insight to this event:
“The earth did quake; not only mount Calvary, where Christ was crucified, but the whole land, and the adjacent countries. This earthquake signified two things.
(1) The horrible wickedness of Christ’s crucifiers.
(2.) The glorious achievements of Christ’s cross.
“The graves were opened. This matter is not related so fully as our curiosity would wish; for the scripture was not intended to gratify that; it should seem, that same earthquake that rent the rocks, opened the graves, and many bodies of saints which slept, arose. Death to the saints is but the sleep of the body, and the grave the bed it sleeps in; they awoke by the power of the Lord Jesus, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into Jerusalem, the holy city, and appeared unto many. [from Matthew Henry’s Commentary]
“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!”” . No firm evidence is given as to whether or not this was a conversion experience of the centurion, but it does show that the events of Jesus’ death led them to understand that the death of Jesus was no ordinary crucifixion, the one who was crucified was indeed totally innocent of all charges and could be only as He claimed to be -The Son Of God.
15. The Preparation And Burial Of The Body Of Jesus (3:00-6:00 PM Friday)
“It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath)…. the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.” This special Sabbath was the one that occurred at the Passover, and so as not to have to bury the body of Jesus on the Sabbath, they requested of Pilate to have the legs of the victims broken so as to hasten their death. They broke the legs of the two convicts crucified with Jesus, but when they were about to break Jesus’ legs they found that He was already dead; “….they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.”, probably to make sure that Jesus was dead but also to fulfill the prophecies of His death .
“As evening approached Joseph, (from Arimathea) accompanied by Nicodemus, (who) brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid…. cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.”. The women from Galilee who had accompanied Jesus to Jerusalem had followed Joseph and Nicodemus and had seen where they had laid the body of Jesus, and Luke records that “..they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” .
16. The Sealed Tomb Guarded By Roman Soldiers
Recorded only by Matthew, the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate “The next day, the one after Preparation Day…” , which would have been the Saturday or the Sabbath, but no time is given thus we do not know if the Sabbath was over (sunset Friday to sunset Saturday). Most likely it would have been before sunset as they would need enough time to make the tomb secure. They were concerned that what the Lord Jesus had said would either come true or that the disciples would steal the body of Jesus and claim that he was raised from the dead – “…we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ …his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead.” – so they requested that Pilate secure the tomb and place a guard until the third day.
Pilate then granted their request and provided a guard of soldiers saying to them, “’Take a guard, Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.’ So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”.