Jesus worked miracles. Jimmy Jividen lists 35 specific miracles performed by Jesus, not counting the miracles connected with the cross, resurrection, and ascension (Jimmy Jividen, Miracles from God or Man, p. 17-18). Halley’s Bible Handbook classifies Jesus’ miracles under the following headings: 17 Bodily cures; 9 miracles over the forces of nature, 6 cures of demonics, 3 raised from the dead (ibid, p. 16). Concerning specific miracles: 20 are recorded in Matthew (ibid, p. 26); 18 are recorded in Mark (ibid, p. 31); 21 are recorded in Luke (ibid, p. 38); and 8 are recorded in John (ibid, p. 43). Moreover, there are many general, non-specific, references to Jesus working miracles (e.g., Mark 1:32-34. For complete list see Jividen, p. 23). Furthermore, Jesus may have done other miracles which are not recorded in the New Testament (John 20:30; 21:25).
The purpose of these miracles was to demonstrate that he was (is) the Christ (John 20:20-21). The miracles showed that he was a man approved of God (Acts 2:22; John 3:1-2; John 10:25; cf. 5:36).
Our subject concerns miracles associated with the cross. While Jesus was dying, God tried to get humanity’s attention with 3 miracles.
1. The Darkness (Mark 15:31-33).
The sky was darkened from 12 noon until 3 p.m. This darkening of the sky may have been mentioned by a couple of secular historians. A Second Century A.D. historian, Phlegon, is quoted by Jerome as saying, “In the fourth year, however, of Olympiad 202, an eclipse of the sun happened, greater and more excellent than any other which happened before it; at the sixth hour, day turned into dark night, so that the stars were seen in the sky, and an earthquake in Bithynia toppled many buildings of the city of Nicea” (www.neverthirsty.org). Unfortunately, the text of Phlegon has been lost. Another historian from the same period, Thallus, is quoted by Julius Africanus (221 A.D.), “On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the 263 third book of his history, calls … an eclipse of the sun” (Julius Africanus, Chronography, 18.1). Again, the actual text has been lost.
It is not physically possible to explain this as an eclipse of the sun, by the moon passing in front of it. Oliver Green has commented, “It has been suggested by some that this darkness was just an eclipse of the sun, but this is an impossibility. The Passover was always celebrated at the time of the full moon (Leviticus 23:5 cf. The Hebrews reckoned each month to start with the new moon), and the moon is opposite the sun, so there could be no eclipse” (The Gospel According to Matthew, Vol. 6, p. 259).
The people loved darkness (John 3:19). Now they experienced literal darkness. I wonder if they remembered the Egyptian plague of darkness (Exodus 10:21-23).
There is no light without God. God spoke light into existence (Genesis 1:3). Do we realize that nothing would exist without him?
2. The Destruction of the Veil (Mark 15:37-38).
The veil signified separation. The veil of the tabernacle was designed with cherubim woven on it (Exodus 26:31). The same is true of the veil of the temple (2 Chronicles 3:14). Cherubim signified to man that they could not enter (cf. Genesis 3:22-24). The High Priest alone could enter into the Most Holy Place, and this was allowed only once a year (Leviticus 16:1-ff; Hebrews 9:7). The Most Holy Place figuratively represented the dwelling place of God, heaven itself (Hebrews 9:24-26).
The significance? Sin separated man from God (cf. Isaiah 59:1-2). The destruction of the veil of Jesus’ flesh provided man access to the glories of heaven. “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, his flesh” (Hebrews 10:19-20).
3. The Resurrection of the dead (Matthew 27:51-53).
This account is found only in the book of Matthew. There is much I would like to know that we are not told, for instance: how long did these remain upon earth?
There are a couple of things we should observe in connection with this miracle. (1) The death of Jesus provides spiritual life for us (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13). (2) This should also tell us that God has the power to resurrect us from the grave (John 5:28-29).
*Note: Our study has not been designed to be a presentation of proofs, or Christian evidences. Instead, this study has been designed for believers to consider some things we should learn and consider from these miracles.