Probably five years ago, a small earthquake shook my house in Charlotte, NC. It was only a slight tremor that lasted a couple of seconds—no damage was done—but since these things don’t typically happen in North Carolina, it was a bit unnerving. Obviously, earthquakes can be catastrophic. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, where I serve, had teams of chaplains in Haiti ministering for several years after the horrific earthquake of 2010. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives and the already poverty stricken country has yet to recover.
Earthquakes are usually very troubling occurrences; devastating natural disasters.
In Matthew 27, we see that there were actually two supernatural earthquakes that took place during Holy Week. One earthquake took place when Jesus died on the cross. After he gasped for His last breath on Good Friday, the Bible says there was a great earthquake and many tombs were opened (verse 52). Then, early on Easter Sunday morning, there was another earthquake when Jesus rose from the dead. During this earthquake, many saints—believers—also rose from the same graves that had been opened on Good Friday! They then went throughout Jerusalem testifying about the resurrection of Jesus.
There were two earthquakes during Holy Week and there were two resurrections: the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of the saints. We focus on the resurrection of Christ during the Easter season, and rightfully so, but it’s important to remember that the only reason Jesus was raised from the dead (and died on the cross) is so that we could be raised from the dead! Because of what Jesus did through His death, burial, and resurrection, we have the assurance we will live for eternity with Him in Heaven. Hallelujah!
Matthew 27:52 says, “many godly people were resurrected.” Another translation says, “many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.” Even after we become a part of God’s family by grace through faith, we can I’m realizing that we can “fall asleep” spiritually. It’s so easy to just go through the motions, subtly succumbing to the illusion that this present life is our top priority. It’s so easy to forget to “set our affection on things above not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1).
I pray that each of us as followers of Jesus would take a spiritual inventory this week. Do we need a personal earthquake that will shatter the chains of complacency that so easily bind us? Do we need a resurrection of our passion to share the good news of Jesus with those that don’t know Him personally? Let’s invite the Risen Christ to do a deep, abiding work in each of us during this Holy Week.