And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake; and the rocks were rent; and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep were raised; and coming forth out of the tombs after his resurrection they entered into the holy city and appeared unto many.
Now the centurion, and they that were with him watching Jesus, when they saw the earthquake, and the things that were done, feared exceedingly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.Matthew 27:51-54 ASV
THE UNDISTURBED GRAVE CLOTHES
Matthew made a very slight reference to the PLACE where the Lord lay (Matthew 28:6), but John gave a full account of this miracle, as follows:
and stooping and looking in, he seeth the linen cloths lying; yet entered he not in. Simon Peter therefore also cometh, following him, and entered into the tomb; and he beholdeth the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, that was upon his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself. Then entered in therefore the other disciple also, who came first to the tomb, and he saw, and believed.John 20:5-8 ASV
In addition to the deference to Peter, evident throughout in this passage, there was another deterrent to John’s entering that tomb. “He seeth the linen cloths lying!”
There is no marvel why John hesitated.
Those linen cloths remained in the exact position AS IF THE LORD HAD STILL BEEN WOUND THEREIN.
The impact on John was the same as if he had seen the linen cloths WALKING!
The miracle of those undisturbed cloths was the clincher in John’s mind, proving that Jesus had risen from the dead. John gave this evidence in his Gospel, because it was the evidence which convinced him.
They had not been ripped off; and, if any man had taken them off, it would have been impossible to have restored their position, Even the napkin, to be mentioned later, still held the position it had when Jesus’ head was in it.
It had not even collapsed! It should be remembered that the angel who (presumably) rolled the stone away from the grave did so, not to let the Lord out, but to let the witnesses in. He rose through the tomb exactly as he did through the bandages.
Matthew’s words attributed to the angel, “Behold the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:6), have meaning only in the light of what was there. Thus it may be said that Matthew recorded all of the Seven Wonders.
Precisely what was the wonder here?
They were not folded but were “lying”! The implication of that word is plainer if the verb is changed to “standing” or “walking.”
Those clothes were “lying,” having exactly the same form they had when Christ was within them.
Even the napkin, uncollapsed, appeared appropriately where his head had been.
Thus Jesus rose “through his clothes” just as he rose through the tomb.
The angel did not roll away the stone to let the Lord out but to let the witnesses in!
This emphasizes the difference between the resurrection of Christ and that of the “saints.”
They came out of their graves horizontally; Jesus “rose” from his.
Whereas their graves had to be opened, Christ’s did not, except to provide access for the witnesses.
They were subject to death a second time, as was Lazarus, presumably, whereas Christ rose from the dead never to die again.
THEY REVIVED AND CAME OUT
and what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.Ephesians 1:19-23 ASV
These two verses set forth the power of God, with Paul using a succession of very strong words to describe it.
[DUNAMIS] means the ability to accomplish, the cognate verb means “I am able.”
[ENERGEIA] means power to work, not mere potential power but active power.
[KRATOS] means the power that rules, has dominion, especially over rational beings.
[ISCHUS] means inherent strength, or might. It has more to do with potential, intrinsic might, whether active or not.
That is the act above all others and beyond all others that shows the unlimited power and ability of God to do all that he has promised to do for his children.
Without the resurrection of Christ, the Christian gospel is stripped of all credibility and relevance for man; and that is why Paul never forgot to include it in the very heart of every message and every letter.
If we kept silent about the resurrection, we would not be speaking of God.
In Matthew 28:18, Jesus Christ spoke of “all authority” in heaven and upon earth having been given unto him; and exactly the same teaching is here.
Besides ten passages of the Greek New Testament which flatly refer to Jesus Christ as God, there are at least a hundred others such as this one which convey exactly the same teaching.
Of what mere mortal could it be said the he sits above “all rule and authority and power and dominion … not only in this world, but in that which is to come”?
This reference to the ascension of Christ “is a declaration by inspiration of the fact recorded in Mark 16:19.