Lesson Four • Graves Opened

Devotion #6: Power Over Death

Jill Osmon

“The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” Matthew 27:52-53

We have been looking at the miracles of the cross in this series and the incredible happenings surrounding the death and eventual resurrection of Jesus. Matthew 27:52-53 has a miracle that is quite interesting, awesome, and leads to a lot of questions quite frankly, but can you imagine? Jesus has been crucified, and after the chaos of an earthquake, darkness, and the veil tearing sits this miracle declaring God’s power over death.

As we read these two verses, we see that people are raised from the dead and walk around after Jesus’ resurrection. Barnes’ commentary says, “It is not improbable to suppose that it was, amid the other wonders attending the death of Jesus, to convince the Jews that he was the Messiah.” I am sure this time had to be so overwhelming for the followers of Jesus. The King they believed would rescue them had died and had resurrected; was it real? Could they believe that Jesus was who He said He was? God provided miracle after miracle to punctuate the truth of His Son dying and being raised from the dead as the ultimate sacrifice for all of our sins. It amazes me that God can be so patient with us and provide so many signs and miracles to help us along with believing He is who He says He is.

As I studied these two verses, this idea of God’s complete control over the seemingly finite act of death reminds me that His victory over death means that I can rely on Him for victory over my worries, my shame, my sin, and every little thing in my life. Greg Lanier says, “The insertion of this peculiar scene between Jesus’ death and resurrection shows the power of both: his death breaks our tombs open, bringing us out from death’s curse; and his new life makes possible our new life. Indeed, the foreshadowing of resurrection in this scene – immediately after Christ breathes his last – connects victory to the seeming defeat.”

I am thankful for His victory over death because His victory over death gives me new life through salvation, and through salvation we have eternal life with Him. Hallelujah!