Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

A Week End of Miracles.
Matt. 27:45-56 NASU

45 Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" 47 And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, "This man is calling for Elijah." 48 Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. 49 But the rest of them said, "Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him." 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54 Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!" 55 Many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee while ministering to Him. 56 Among them was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Introduction
When we went to Israel in 1992 at the Air Port in Paris I sat next to a lady who was reading a magazine that asked the question "DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES".

I thought what a good place for me to get a conversation started about the Lord? She told me she did believe in miracles. She was a Jewish Lady who lived in Joppa and was returning from a visit in Chicago. She did not want to hear the gospel message even though I inferred it had miraculous power.

How many of you here today believe in miracles? I want to tell you today I am a miracle.
 


My Father is Omnipotent
And that you can't deny
A God of might and Miracles
Tis written in the sky

It took a miracle to put the stars in place
It took a miracle to hang the world in space
but when he saved my soul
Cleansed and made me whole ,
It took a miracle of love and grace.

Today I want to share with you concerning the miracles around Calvary.

1.    The Miracle of the Sun.
 
        2.    The Miracle In the Sanctuary.

                3.    The Miracle of the Stones.

                        4.    The Miracle of the Sepulchers

                                5.    The Miracle of the Solders.

                                        6.    The Miracle of the Salvation.



1. The Miracle of the Sun. Matt. 27:45


                        Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.

A.    The Miracle of . . Darkness at Noon.
        "Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land... "
        1.    Jesus was dying for the whole world.
        2.    The whole world was dark.
        3.    Not an Eclipse
        4.    Not a natural phenomena
        5.    God intervened in a miraculous way.

B.    The Miracle of . . Darkness at Mid-Day.
            ". . . all the land until the ninth hour.
 

Illustration     The 3rd verse of the song "At The Cross"

Well might the sun in darkness hide,
and shut His glories in
When Christ the might Maker died
For man the creatures sin

At the cross at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day.

Application

            There is a Miracle In the Darkening of the Sun.
 
 

2. The Miracle In the Sanctuary. Matt. 27:51 a


            "And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; . . . "

A.    The Miracle In the . . Tearing of the Veil.
        "And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; . . . "

        1.    Torn from the top, 60 feet up in the air.
        2.    This was during the earth quake.
        3.    Man would tear from the bottom.

B.    The Miracle In the . . Teaching of the Veil

        1.    The veil separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place.
        2.    Only the High Priest could enter.
        3.    Then only on the day of Atonement.
        4.    The Ark and the Mercy Seat were kept here
        5.    This was the place where the sacrifice for sin was placed on the mercy seat.
        6.    Jesus death on the Cross took the sacrifice into the heavens.
        7.    No Need for the Holy of Holies any more.

Heb. 7:27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. NASU

Heb. 9:12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.   NASU

Heb. 10:20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; NASU

Illustration
I am passing around a piece of cloth made by Rae Weaver. It is of the style that the veil would be made of except the veil was much thicker. One commentator said it was a palm width thick.

I want to ask who is the strongest man present today? Let us see if we can agree. Maybe we need to say the three strongest men. I want one or all of you to try to rip this piece of cloth.

I don't think anyone can rip it but just think of it being 5-10 times thicker.

Application

This Illustration is to point out to you God had to tear it and it was done to demonstrate the saving
work of Christ.
 
 

3. The Miracle of the Stones. Matt.27:51 & 54


A.    The Miracle of the Stones In The . . Site.   v 51 b & 54a
            ". . . and the earth shook and the rocks were split.
            54 a " Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they
            saw the earthquake NASU

        1.    An Earthquake In Jerusalem.
        2.    The Site of the Cross.

B.    The Miracle of the Stones in the . . Sound. Luke 19:39-40 39
        Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." 40 But Jesus
        answered, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!" NASU

        1.    The Disciples became silent.
        2.    The Rocks Cried Out.
 
 

4. The Miracle of the Sepulchers. Matt. 27:52-53 


52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.

A.    The Miracle for the . . Saints. v 52
            The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
        1.    Notice it is not all Saints but "MANY".
        2.    Perhaps the Old Testament teaching of the WAVE OFFERING

Lev 23:10-16 10"Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, "When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11"He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12"Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the LORD. 13"Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the LORD for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine.   14"Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 15"You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete Sabbaths. 16"You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD. NASU

2. The day of Pentecost Is When Jesus ascended finally.

        1.    Some say this is only recorded in Matthew.
        2.    They would make it a later addition.
        3.    Let us remember Matthew is the only gospel to mention the Word "CHURCH".
        4.    Scripture is scripture.

B.    The Miracle for the . . Showing. v 53
        ". . . and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and
        appeared to many.

        1. Even though we have this event no where else in scripture it is beautiful.
        2.    Think of Moses and Elijah appearing? Etc.

Gills Commentary
But it should seem rather, that they were some later saints, such as Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, John the Baptist himself, good old Simeon, Joseph the husband of Mary, and others, well known to persons now alive. Some think they were such, as had been martyrs in the cause of religion; and so the Persic version renders the words, "and the bodies of many saints who suffered martyrdom, rose out of the graves".

Acts 1:3 To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. NASU

ATR = Acts 1:3
Tekmeerion (NT:5039) is only here in the New Testament, though an old and common word in ancient Greek and occurring in the Koine (papyri, etc.). The verb [tekmairoo],"to prove by sure signs," (from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Copyright by Biblesoft )

Illustration A LIVING GOD
A defendant was on trial for murder. There was strong evidence indicating guilt, but there was no corpse. In the defense's closing statement the lawyer, knowing that his client would probably be convicted, resorted to a trick: "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have a surprise for you all," the lawyer said as he looked at his watch. "Within one minute, the person presumed dead in this case will walk into this courtroom."

He looked toward the courtroom door. The jurors, somewhat stunned, all looked on eagerly. A minute passed. Nothing happened.

Finally the lawyer said, "Actually, I made up the previous statement. But you all looked on with anticipation. I therefore put it to you that there is reasonable doubt in this case as to whether anyone was killed and insist that you return a verdict of not guilty."

The jury, clearly confused, retired to deliberate. A few minutes later, the jury returned and pronounced a verdict of guilty.

"But how?" inquired the lawyer. "You must have had some doubt; I saw all of you stare at the door."
The jury foreman replied: "Oh, we did look, but your client didn't."
 

Application

Oops! It was evident from the way he acted that the defendant didn't really believe the victim was still alive. Let me ask you a question: As the world looks at our lives, is it evident to them that we believe in a living God?
 
 

5. The Miracle of the Solders. Matt. 27 54


                ". . . Now the centurion, and those who were with him.   keeping guard over Jesus, when they
        saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, "Truly
        this was the Son of God!"

A.    The Miracle of the Solders . . Transformation. v 54 a
            "Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the
            earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened. . . "

B.    The Miracle of the Solders . . Testimony. v 54 b
            ". . . and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

Illustration Value of the cross
Some time ago some robbers stole a 14 foot bronze cross from Calvary Cemetery in Little Rock, Arkansas. This cross had stood at the entrance to this cemetery for more than 50 years. Thieves apparently stole it more for money than art, they cut it off at the base and hauled it away, most likely cutting it up into small pieces that they could then sell for 50 cents a pound. The cross weighed about 900 pounds thus netting them about $450.

The cross's actual worth was $10,000 or in today's dollar about $50,000. The thieves obviously didn't know the real value of the cross as an object, instead they settled for a much cheaper price for it as scrap metal. This is still true for many today, they are willing to settle for the less important parts of Christianity like the feeling parts and fail to appreciate the deeper things of God that may not have an emotional base to them. They like the celebration, not the commitment.

Application         Sing the Old Rugged Cross

The solders did not appreciate the value of the cross. The centurion's statement indicates he had a change of heart and appreciation
 
 

6. The Miracle of Salvation. Luke 23:39-43


39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!" 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 "And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." 42 And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!" 43 And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise." NASU

A.    The Miracle of Salvation and It's . . Rejection. v 39
            One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!"

B.    The Miracle of Salvation and It's . . Reception. v 42-43
        42 And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!" 43 And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."

        1.    Note the only difference of the two men.
                a.    They were both condemned criminals.
                b.    One received one rejected.

Illustration Wrapped In the Blood
Spurgeon once told of a man who had been sentenced to death by a Spanish court. Because he was an American citizen and also of English birth the consuls of both countries decided to intervene for his life. They declared that the authorities of Spain had no right to take his life, but their protests unheeded. Finally, they deliberately wrapped the prisoner in their flags, the stars and stripes of our American flag and the union jack of England.

Defying the executioner, they issued this warning as the man was taken out to be shot: "Fire if you dare! But if you do, you will bring the powers of two great nations upon you!" There stood the condemned, but the rifleman would not shoot him! Protected by those flags and the governments they represented, the man was invulnerable! Their power protected him from death! So does the resurrection of our Lord if we believe and receive Him!

1.    The Miracle of the Sun.             2. The Miracle In the Sanctuary.

3.    The Miracle of the Stones.         4. The Miracle of the Sepulchers

5.    The Miracle of the Solders.         6. The Miracle of the Salvation.