Holy Week – Saturday April 3 – AFTERSHOCK

 In Lenten Devotional

Holy Week

Saturday April 3 – AFTERSHOCK

“51 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.

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” “ – Matthew 27:51-54 (NIV)

I have never been to California but have been dying to go there my entire life. Not only did I want to see all of the sites musically related (such as the Capitol Building – “the building that Nat (King Cole) built”, and countless amazing record stores such as Amoeba, etc) but to be in the land of sunshine enjoying the beach and the weather. The closest I got to California was having my album ROUND mastered and pressed there (at one of the best record making plants in the world, RTI).

But there is ONE thing that I am happy I have never experienced: a California earthquake.

And although I am happy I have avoided that experience, there is only one thing worse than a California earthquake: a California aftershock. It actually doesn’t seem fair that after a devastating earthquake that there could be EVEN more destruction to come in aftershock.

During the pandemic we have felt aftershocks if you will from the surging of second (and now third) waves of the virus taking over. All of us are tired of the pandemic and have no patience anymore for people not following the rules.

The aftershocks have been tiring.

What a powerful moment that must have been in the temple after Jesus died on the cross. To see the curtain torn from top to bottom must have shocked the religious leaders of the time.

It was just another aftershock from the Son of God doing the will of the Father.

The earth shook.

The rocks split (and you know how easy it is for rocks to split on their own!)

Tombs broke open.

Incredible. Not only was the spiritual world affected by Jesus’ death, but so was the physical world.

The crucifixion is not just a story shared by fellow Christians to get people’s curiosity aroused and draw them into a Gospel-focused life.

The crucifixion is a God-enabled transformative landmark event that reset the world that we know of. This reset made it possible for anyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah to have everlasting life.

No wonder the rocks split and the tombs were opened!

God was making it clear what had just happened. The aftershocks were a natural response to this amazing historical moment.

There are times that there are aftershocks to the miracles and the movement of God in the 21st Century and we sometimes fail to see the signs and wonders. I am not talking about conspiracy theories or signs for the end of the age (which believers have debated and tried to predict for centuries, but God still has the timeline on that locked up!). I am talking about lives that turn to Jesus after a miraculous healing from cancer, or protection from the virus or mercy shown during our own moments of loss and suffering.

God loves us so much that He was not willing to let us simply be separated from him or to let us die an earthly death as the final end. He needed a reset that would transform the natural order of sin and death and He used His only Son to make it happen.

True love is not what feels good. True love does right and what is needed, no matter how it feels.

God’s True Love for us continues to have aftershocks in our world, and we need to have the eyes to see and the ears to hear in order to experience the blessing.

One of my favourite “Bible Films” would be the Franco Zeffirelli’s film “Jesus of Nazareth”. Although the film is not completely historically and scripturally accurate it is a moving portrayal of the Gospel story that continues to inspire me. It is a yearly tradition to watch it, although there have been years I have missed it. One of the characters that Rose-Frances and I love is the Centurion who comes to ask Jesus to heal His servant. Although in Scripture there is a suggestion that others speak to Jesus on the Centurion’s behalf, the scene is a tender one. The Centurion knows that if Jesus simply says that his servant will be healed that he WILL be. The Centurion’s faith was noted by Jesus and because of this, the servant was healed.

In the film, the same centurion is the one who is at the cross and recognizes that, along with the other Roman guards, that “surely He (Jesus) was the Son of God”. However there is not evidence that this is the same Centurion but it makes for a great dramatic element at the crucifixion.

The aftershocks of True Love in the eyes of those who did not believe prior to the death of Jesus.

The other reason why we enjoy the character is that Ernest Borgnine, the man who plays the Centurion, resembles Rose-Frances’ dad, John. In fact, the faith of my father-in-law was very much like the Centurion’s. When he knew that he was diagnosed with cancer and had limited time left on earth, he was able to surrender all of his emotion and plans to God. He loved serving in his local parish and was a true humble servant. If he had approached Jesus to ask for healing for a friend or family member, John would have trusted Jesus and knew that He would do what He said He would do. But John knew that this was his time and because of his strong faith, it prepared him for his Beautiful Mile.

The faith of a man who experienced the True Love of God in his life. That is a most beautiful aftershock of the events on Golgotha.

Did you know that after Jesus’ resurrection that holy people were also resurrected after him and were seen in the holy city by MANY people? I seem to forget about this fact when I read this part of the book of Matthew.

How incredible is this?

And could you imagine being someone who lived in the city and you happen to come across George, your best friend from school who died of cancer last year, WALKING, FULLY alive and wandering the city. Can you imagine what it must have felt like for George? Seems very Marvel/Avengers-y to me (the blip), but it would have been wild to be dead one day and alive the next!

The aftershocks of True Love.

As we wait in the land between the crucifixion and the resurrection, take time today to remember Jesus’ True Love for us. His willingness to do what is right, no matter what it cost Him. Remember to worship Him today that He has brought you into this amazing relationship with Him that has changed your life for the better. Count all of your blessings, list them as items of praise, and lift your hands in the air in thankful praise.

May the aftershocks of True Love inspire you to worship, to love and to change your world in Jesus’ name and for all those who are struggling because they do not know Him.

Happy Holy Saturday. See you tomorrow for our Easter Sunday gathering on Facebook at 10:30 a.m. ET 🙂


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