EVENTS AFTER JESUS' DEATH
Matt 27:51-56 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto Him: among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children. (Also See Mark 15:38-41; Luke 23:45-49)
Miraculous events occurred when Jesus died on the cross of Calvary; undeniable miracles that came from God, which proved, without any doubt, that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah, the Savior, and the Son of God. The first miracle noted in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, was that the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom. This curtain, or veil, was torn in to. It once enclosed the Holy of Holies and separated it from the Holy Place but was now exposed and made open. This beautiful, ornate veil was cunningly crafted from blue, purple, and scarlet fabric, with cherubims, and hung on pillars overlaid with pure gold (See Ex. 26:31-33). This was the veil that was rent in twain. It was not torn from bottom to top as mankind would have done, but from top to bottom, as only God, our Heavenly Father could do from above.
The veil that once separated sinful men and women from sinless, righteous God, was now torn apart, and through the precious atoning blood of our Savior, all that have obediently been washed with the pure water of baptism for the forgiveness of sins, may enter, commune with God through Christ Jesus, continually seek forgiveness for sins, and enjoy the hope of salvation throughout eternity. The Holy Spirit-inspired writer of the Epistle to the Hebrew Christians sums up this New Testament truth with these words: Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having an High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water (Heb. 10:19-22).
Miracles continued at Jesus' death when the earth did quake, and the rocks rent. The earth around the crucifixion site, near Jerusalem and possibly other adjacent countries, miraculously shook with violent convulsions. No doubt, this was not an ordinary earthquake that often occurred in this area of Palestine. Since this quake occurred immediately at the time of Jesus' death, and since the rocks seemed to be rent in to, rather than at some natural fissure, and since the violent shaking of the earth caused graves to be opened, this event surely came from God, in order, without question, to identify His Son as the promised Savior of mankind. That the graves were opened, and stones were rolled away from the sepulchers of the dead, was not written to give readers knowledge of how many bodies were raised from death, who they were, or whether, once risen and seen by many, they returned again to their graves. Rather, this miracle occurred and was recorded that all readers would know with certainty, by the testimonial fact of their reappearance, that death, to all obedient followers of Christ, was merely a temporary sleep, and resurrection from death was assured.
And when the Roman soldiers, that guarded the crucifixion site, witnessed these miraculous events, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. Having heard of Jesus' testimony that He was the Son of God, and having witnessed the words written by Pilate, which were placed over His head stating this truth, these miracles assured the soldiers that they had, indeed, seen the Son of God. Luke 23:48 says that all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned after Jesus had surrendered to death. And having been kept at a distance from the cross by Roman guards, many women were there beholding afar off - devoted women that had obediently followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto Him. Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children, also known as Salome (Mark 15:40).