March 29, 2024

The Wonder of the Cross

Passage: Matthew 27:45-56
Service Type:


  • Looking at some of the incidents in the passage
  • Strange that we call today 'Good Friday' - the death of Jesus
    • The cross is the centrepiece of the Bible
    • The cross if the centrepiece of the Gospel
    • We sing about the cross
    • Paul wanted to know nothing but Jesus Christ crucified (1 Cor 2:2)
    • The cross is something wonderful and glorious
  • Example of Welsh Artist - James Innes - 'come and see'
    • Looking at a more wonderous mountain this morning
    • Mount Moriah: prefiguring the cross
  • Look at the attending wonders of the cross

A Great Darkness (v45)

  • It is midday but there is a darkness for 3 hours
  • This reminds us of Exodus - when darkness covered the land for 3 days leading to the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb
    • God is painting a picture about the great Lamb of God
    • Isa 53
    • "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world"
  • He steps into darkness
    • The forces of darkness come against Jesus
    • Jesus is entering into the darkness of (our) sin
  • He emerges from this darkness as the light of the world
    • At conversion - people are translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light
    • God's light has shone on our hearts (2 Cor 4:6)
    • We were once in the dark but are now in the light
  • Example of ministry in Tenby

A Torn Curtain (v51)

  • Not a frail veil - this was a weighty, 60ft curtain
    • It was a sign that only one person - the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and then only once a year on the 'Day of Atonement'
    • The High Priest bore the names of Israel on his breast plate and represented the people
  • It was a symbol of Christ representing His people before God
    • Moving from the Old Testament to the New Testament - from the lesser to the greater
    • Christ is the Great High Priest
    • He has made a single sacrifice of Himself - His body broken for us
  • All ceremony and ritual has gone - we can come boldly to God through Jesus alone
    • The curtain is opened - we can come to God
    • We can 'turn back to God'
  • Come as a sinner to Jesus
    • Are you still in the dark?
    • Are you still outside?
    • Example of Sylvia

A Mighty Earthquake (v51-52)

  • This goes back to Mount Sinai and the law given to Moses
    • But there is a more stupendous occurrence at Calvary
    • Christ enduring out punishment
    • Gal 4:4-5
    • Not just acquitted of our sin but adopted into God's family
  • A great earthquake - graves open and the dead are raised to life
    • A prelude to a greater resurrection
    • The one who would rise on the third day and give live everlasting
    • Rom 6:23
    • We are alive in Christ
  • There is new life in Jesus

A Roman Centurion (v54)

  • A legion was about 5,500 with 59 centurions
    • Someone who has risen from the ranks - battle hardened and scar
    • Assigned to a stubborn people
    • Assigned to crucifixion
  • All that he sees is impressed upon him - he grasps "Truly this was the Son of God"
    • He sees there is one mediator between God and man - the Son Christ Jesus
    • Never the same since meeting the Man on the cross
    • Every Christian wonders at the cross

A Dying Thief

  • Not here but in other gospels (Luke 23:39-43)
  • He begins by ridiculing Jesus
    • Example of Russell Watson
    • The other thief rebukes him
    • He becomes aware of his sin and calls out to Jesus
    • Jesus tells him "today you will be with me in paradise"

Closing Remarks

  • Have you come to Jesus?
    • If not, when will it be?
    • Why not today?