50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.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. (Matt. 27:50-53, NIV)
Here’s the setting: the Son of God dies. He cries out and gives up His life…and instantly the earth shakes, rocks split, tombs broke open, the dead came back to life and walked into downtown Jerusalem, and the curtain of the Temple was torn in half.
I’ve never preached a sermon on this…but that’ll change soon enough.
Here’s the rub: when Jesus dies, it alters the landscape to say the least. Now, here’s where it get’s intense.
In the Temple was a Curtain. Now, when I think of a curtain, I’m thinking a 4 foot tall piece of fabric I by at Big Lots, or wherever, right? This curtain was different. It was sixty feet tall, made of very sturdy stuff. Actually, the Hebrew calls it a “veil” and it was more of a screen than a curtain. It was also said to be as “thick as a man’s hand.” The significance can’t be undermined here. This curtain shielded the Holy of Holies (the place where the Presence of God dwelt throughout Israel’s history) from man…it was actually an active-barrier between God and man. Only once a year would the High Priest go in there and offer incense and prayers to God…and even then a rope was tied around his waist in case he was “unclean” and didn’t know it, thus rendering him…well…dead. The rope was used to pull his corpse out of the Temple. This was more of a “structure” rather than a curtain…
…so at the moment Jesus died, that veil split from top to bottom. You’re probably thinking, “So what?” Well, this act of God dramatically symbolized the end of humanity’s exile from God’s presence. Now, after so many centuries people were welcomed again to enter into the Most Holy Place.
If that wasn’t enough, something else happened: people who had been dead…probably for awhile…they were resurrected and came out of their graves and they walked right into downtown Jerusalem! This is the stuff George Romero and Max Brooks can only wish they’d have thought up! So basically, you have this “horde” of walking dead coming into the city after the death of Jesus.
Holy Zombies? Well, it fits the definition. A Human being who was dead, but is now alive again. That’s Max Brook’s definition of “zombie” by the way. So dead people come back to life. Why? It was another indication that the curse of death that had fallen on Adam’s race was now broken. Death, the very thing that holds us all in fear, the one thing we all will encounter…it has no control over me anymore.
What does that mean?
Death has died and Love has won!
The Apostle Paul really shows us that we who are in Christ have died…and we have been raised again to new life…brought back from death. Check Ephesians 2:
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ…14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. (Eph 2:1-5;14-15 NIV)
So this is good news. Very Good news. It means that I have joined the ranks of the holy zombies, the tribe of Christ, and that death, sin, and hate have been extinguished once and for all by Jesus Christ’s death, but more importantly, His resurrection.
I am the Walking Dead; actually I’m the walking Alive who was Dead. I was dead but now I’m alive. I was cut off, now I’m seated at His table. I was rotting away in sin and Adam’s curse…but I am now the walking dead. My grave has been opened, my shackles broken, the chains of death snapped…and He is my peace…