And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
There's been an obsession with zombies the past few years in our country. The TV show, The Walking Dead, has been a popular drama since 2010 depicting life in an apocalyptic world over run with zombies. Pop culture has used this theme in other movies, TV shows and commercials. Somehow, we're fascinated with the idea of dead men walking.
How about these saints in Matthew 27? During Easter week, we focus on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and rightfully so, but as I read the passage above, I'm blown away. An earthquake shook the land. Some geologists estimate the quake would have been a 5.5 in magnitude. The massive, four inch thick veil that separated man from the presence of God was split in two from top to bottom - man now had direct access to God, because of Jesus. But what about these saints? We tend to skip over this part of our retelling of the Easter story. Do you realize these saints got their resurrection before Jesus received His? Jesus died on a Friday and waited until Sunday to rise again but these people were set free the moment Jesus died. Amazing! Imagine being witness to the once dead walking free. It's as if God, the master storyteller, was foreshadowing what would happen to His son a few days later so that people would believe.
As I pondered this post for the past few weeks, I wondered who these saints were and how long they had been dead. I wondered what their names were and to whom did they first appear? Did their families and friends see them? Did they resume a normal life? The questions are endless and add to the awe and mystery of our God who seeks to let us know that He is in the business of resurrection.
I thought these saints were the original walking dead, however I realize what God wants us know is that we are all the walking dead before we know Jesus. Without Christ, it's as if we cover ourselves with that four inch thick veil. We are separated from God and spiritually dead. When Christ enters the picture we have life. John 1 5:12 says, "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." It's just that simple, without Christ, we are the walking dead.
To be honest, I don't watch the zombie shows. I'm a big chicken when it comes to spooky things. I tend to have nightmares and my mind doesn't shake free of images very easily. While I don't watch the shows about the dead walking around, I see it in real life. Whether it be folks who are lost and need to be found or religious people who seek to earn God's love and don't realize they haven't accepted Christ's final work once and for all.
This week, as spring brings forth new life and I await the celebration of my Savior's resurrection, I pray for those who do not have the abundant life for which Christ came. God requires nothing but trust and belief, for it was nothing more than the yielding of His spirit who broke those people out of their tombs. There were no works to be done, their resurrection was not earned, it was immediate. The same miracle awaits each and everyone of us today.