Friday, October 15

Confidence and conviction

Scripture: Ezekiel 23-24, Psalm 119.5, Matthew 27

Matthew 27:51–53 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

Observation

When Jesus died, several remarkable and highly symbolic things happened.  

First, the temple curtain that separated the Holy of Holies was torn open from top to bottom, indicating that God Himself was opening the way into His presence for all of us.  Both Mark and Luke include this detail in their account, but then Matthew adds another sign that can be found nowhere else.

Second, tombs broke open and many holy people were raised to life and appeared to many. No other details are given.  Who were these people?  To whom did they appear?  What happened to them after?  These questions and the fact that the story is found only here explain why this mystery is largely ignored by most.  

The most important question may be, “What does it mean?”  And that seems clear.  Jesus’ death and resurrection opened the way into God’s presence for all of us, and conquered sin and death for all of us.  These events (the tearing of the curtain, the raising of the saints) indicate that God’s Kingdom has come and our future is different because of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

This explains the profound conviction of the apostles who gave their lives to proclaim the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  They saw Him die and alive again, and they knew of these events that foreshadowed the ultimate result of the final resurrection and life in God’s presence.  Being part of all that would change you forever and charge you with confidence and conviction!

Application

I haven’t had the privilege of seeing the resurrected Jesus, or witnessing these events.  But I believe the testimony of those who did, and Jesus said this about me (and you):

John 20:29 “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

I want to live with the same conviction and confidence as those first disciples.  Jesus’ death and resurrection changes my present and future.  

Jesus has given us access into God’s presence.  Today, I can enjoy God’s presence wherever I am, whatever I’m doing.  I am living in the Holy of Holies!  

Hebrews 10:19–20 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,

Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Ephesians 3:12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Jesus has guaranteed my eternity.  I have nothing to fear from death because He is risen and has conquered death and guaranteed my resurrection and life with Him forever. 

Live with confidence and conviction.  

Prayer: Lord, this mysterious little story tucked into the Passion is a great reminder that You have changed my life today and forever.  Help me live into that with confidence and conviction.