45 From noon until three in the afternoon the whole earth was dark. 46 At about three Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,” which means, “My God, my God, why have you left me?”
47 After hearing him, some standing there said, “He’s calling Elijah.”48 One of them ran over, took a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a pole. He offered it to Jesus to drink.
49 But the rest of them said, “Let’s see if Elijah will come and save him.”
50 Again Jesus cried out with a loud shout. Then he died.
51 Look, the curtain of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split, 52 and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised. 53 After Jesus’ resurrection they came out of their graves and went into the holy city where they appeared to many people. 54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and what had just happened, they were filled with awe and said, “This was certainly God’s Son.”
55 Many women were watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to serve him. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons (Matthew 27:45-56, Common English Bible).
It is no simple task, splitting a rock. When I was in high school I took a geology class. Much of what we did during our lab time in that class involved cutting and polishing rocks. Even using a power saw with water to keep both the blade and the rock cool, it was still a difficult and time-consuming process. You had to go slow but eventually, you could cut the rock in two.
I have often thought about that when I read verse 51 of today’s lesson. What kind of power did it take to split rocks? The kind that is beyond human capability. We may be able to cut a rock in two, but we can’t really split rocks.
I often imagine a lightning strike into a rock. That would be enough power to split a rock. Likewise, an earthquake would have the power to split a rock. There may even be something of human creation capable of splitting a rock, but if there is, I don’t know what it might be. Cut, yes. Crush, I am sure. Split, not within my knowledge. And, did it exist in the Biblical era? I seriously doubt it.
When I think about the power it would take to split a rock, much less several, it usually leads me to think about God’s grief. I can only imagine what level of grief a parent might feel at the loss of a child. If we feel such profound grief, would not God feel the same level of grief or perhaps more? After all, we are created in the image of God. And, I would think, a divine broken heart might just generate the necessary power to split a rock.
Something to think about.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thanksgiving,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved