Have you ever read something in the Bible that leaves you scratching your head? It’s one of the things I love about the Bible . . . it makes me ask questions and think.
On Good Friday morning, I read the Passion story from Matthew. I’ve read through the book of Matthew several times, but I can’t recall ever reading this passage before. As many Easter mornings as I’ve been in church, I don’t recall ever hearing it. Anywhere. Yet, there it is. So why isn’t this part of the Easter story?
Matthew 27:50-53 (NIV) And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. (That’s the part we all know, right? We all know about the curtain being torn in two at the moment of Jesus’ death. This next passage is the part that wowed my socks off.) The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
Wait. What? Huh? Can you imagine the scene? What must those resurrected persons have thought? Where did they go between Friday and Sunday? Imagine the look on the faces of the people they appeared to!
Those couple verses jumped out at me like a biblical bunny carrying a basket of colored eggs. Have you ever heard that part of the Easter story? So I read this to my boys. They'd never heard that part either. “Why isn’t this part of the traditional Easter story?” I asked them. Andrew replied, “Cause it sounds like zombies. More like a Halloween story than the Easter story.”
Eric checked and said that line does not appear in the other three gospels. Did Matthew know something the other writers did not?
I’m very curious about this. I’d love to hear comments from anyone, but especially anyone who’s a theological/biblical scholar. Or someone who simply knows about stuff like this.
Have a blessed Easter, everyone! He is risen!