You Asked for a Sign….

A fall like day here in Fort Collins with cool temperatures. My nurse came and changed out my IV line. I went ahead and removed the old one myself after my morning antibiotic dose. This gave me a few hours without a needle in my arm and provided me an opportunity to take a shower without having to wrap my arm with plastic.

If nothing else, I can take note of the signs of independence in my care. Every once in a while, I have to stop and remember how limited I was in my ability to move my arms and legs. I was recalling recently when I was in the Acute Care Hospital lat year having to remind the aides that I needed certain items in an exact spot. If they were just an inch of two either direction, I was not able to reach them.

Debbie and I have marked certain “small steps” forward in my independence as signs of progress. Ones that for most people would easily be unnoticed or taken for granted. For me those “small steps” were big signs. Some of them Debbie even had to point out to me in order for me to appreciate the progress.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “…the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”   Matthew 27:51-54

There are certain verses in the Bible that we read and out of familiarity or the fact that after-all it is “The Bible” that we fail to understand the significance. The religious leaders asked Jesus for a sign. He told them the only sign they would receive would be the “sign of Jonah.” He explained that as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days so He would be in the grave for three days. I am always surprised that the religious leaders remembered and had greater concern over this prediection than did Jesus followers. That is what made them go to Pilot and make sure the grave was secure.

When Jesus died these signs of His Deity above had great significance. The curtain of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This curtain had separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies to offer the blood of the sacrifice for the sins of the people. When Christ died and the curtain was torn it was a signal that God was hosting an “open house.” The blood of Christ became the sacrifice for the sin of the world and a new day had arrived! A day of grace and forgiveness for all who would place their faith in Christ.

Then there was the earthquake that shook the city. Since not everyone was at the cross it would have been interesting to hear the talk among the people about this event. One person that did not miss the significance was the centurion and others standing guard at the cross. He confessed, “surely this was the Son of God.” What role this man had in the punishment Jesus received we do not know. He at least would have been overseeing the punishment Jesus received. Perhaps he was in the crowd on the day of Pentecost just over 50 days later when Peter gave his sermon; on that occasion thousands confessed Christ as savior.  (Acts 2)

The last sign is to me one of the greatest. The graves of dead saints were opened and they came out of their tombs, went into the city and “appeared to many.” Which saints? What did they say? How did people react? Did they return to their graves? Here is an event the evokes a lot of questions, but is often skimmed over. For whatever reason we are not filled in on those details. But it was a sign that “Jesus was [is] the Son of God!” It is a clear indication that Jesus death on the cross means life for all who place their trust in Him.

The religious leaders asked for a sign. They received many signs in God’s way and in God’s time. They had to decide what do do with the signs. Many of them rejected the signs and they tried to suppress the greatest sign, Jesus resurrection. The centurion saw the signs and believed. When you read the gospels, don’t miss the significance of these events, don’t miss the signs.