Once the blood of Jesus Christ was spilt and atonement made, Jesus bowed His head saying, “It is finished,” and He surrendered His life into His Father’s hands (Jn 19:30, Lk 23:46, Mt. 27:50). After the dreadful divine silence during His mocking and crucifixion, Jesus Christ would not just expire without His death being interpreted; rather, in a veritable supernatural explosion, God would finally “speak up” concerning the death of His Son. Matthew focuses his account of the crucifixion on five such supernatural events linked to the death of Christ, wherein God speaks in: darkness (v. 45), the split veil in the temple (v. 51a), an earthquake (v. 51b), open tombs and resurrected bodies (v. 52-53), and the salvation of a pagan soldier (v. 54).
There have not been many sermons preached on this text, and quite frankly, many of these questions just cannot be answered with full assurance. Yet the text gains significant import as we consider how it serves to link Christ’s death and the resurrection together. Jesus’s work on the cross is intimately tied to his impending resurrection, so much so that we can consider the two foci as a single event, both parts of which are essential to the Gospel message.