In his account of the death of Jesus Christ, Matthew chooses to report more about the supernatural events surrounding Jesus’s death than about the crucifixion itself. In particular in our text, he describes five signs directly linked to the death of Christ – darkness (v. 45), the split veil (v. 51a), an earthquake (v. 51b), open tombs and resurrected bodies (v. 52-53), and the salvation of a pagan soldier (v. 54). Much time is wasted trying to discover how these things occurred; instead we ought to occupy ourselves seeking to understand why they happened.
Our text leaves us with great hope, as darkness is not the final sign. After Christ bows His head and yields up His spirit, tombs are miraculously opened and a pagan man is saved. This points to the fact that, in Christ, not only was atonement made and the wrath of God fully satisfied, but that His sacrifice was accepted and leads to new life – from death come resurrection to those who are in Christ!