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Can you explain this hard verse: Matthew 27:51-53 – “The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.” Can you explain this verse?, especially the part about bodies of the holy people who were raised to life???


Yes, I can explain this verse. The tombs opened up and the dead bodies of the righteous were resurrected.

It’s not hard to explain, just hard imagine. The tombs probably broke open from the earthquake that occured upon Christ’s death.

The reason for the occurrence is not specifically explained in Scripture, but it’s not hard to speculate why.

  • It showed Jesus’ triumph over death both for Himself, and for others.
  • It was a sign of how momentous the events were surrounding Jesus’ death.
  • It was a spectacular sign confirming that Jesus truly was the Son of God.
  • It may have been a fulfillment of the Feast of FirstFruits (Lev 23.10) whereby the Priest would receive a handful of grain from the coming harvest. Jesus was recieving a portion of the eventual harvest of saved, glorified souls.

Sometimes we quickly read over these events without really imagining the impact they had. The tombs opened and some of the dead were raised to life. The foot thick curtain that veiled the Holy of Holies was ripped in two which would have terrified the temple priests. There was a massive earthquake that broke rocks in two. There was pitch black darkness for 3 hours. This was no eclipse of the sun. This was a supernatural event from God.

All of these events were for the purpose of achieving the response that the Roman guards declared:

Matthew 27:54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God! (NKJV)