Today is the day. Approximately 2,000 years ago:
Jesus put His hand upon the sun.
He put His hand upon the sanctuary.
He put His hand upon the stones.
He put His hand upon the sepulcher.
He put His hand upon some soldiers.
He put His hand upon the sun—As Jesus hung there on that cross, darkness fell over all the land, from 12 p.m.-3 p.m. The whole country plunged into darkness. The sun is a gigantic sphere 864,000 miles in diameter, weighing two octillion tons, and burning at 25 million degrees. Yet as Jesus hung there, He reached over and snuffed the whole thing out like a candle. It was the horror of a great darkness like Abraham experienced—a darkness that could be felt like in the plagues of Egypt. The one who had been pulverized and nailed to a cross, had put out the sun. But three hours later as a kind and generous act, he turned it back on again.
He put His hand upon the sanctuary—Once a year the high priest ventured into the temple with a basin of blood in his hands and sprinkled the ark of the covenant. Only the high priest was allowed into “the Holy of Holies,” an area partitioned off by a veil. Jesus put his hand upon the sanctuary and tore that veil in two. No human hand did this. It was torn from top to bottom. The veil had been as high as the temple and as wide. It was as thick as a man’s hand. A yoke of oxen couldn’t have torn it in half. It had stood for 1,500 years as a way to keep people out of the presence of God. It had said to sinners, “Stay away!” But that day on Calvary, Jesus reached out and tore it in two. God now says to all of us “Come in!”
He put His hand upon the stones—the earth quaked and the rocks split. On the day Jesus entered Jerusalem, the corrupt religious elite hadn’t liked the people crying out and praising Him. They told Him to tell them to stop it. He replied, “If these would hold their peace, the stones would cry out.” And yet, at Calvary they all did hold their peace. “Where are you, Bartimeas? Didn’t Jesus heal your eyes a few days ago?” “Where are you Zacchaeus?” “Where are you Jairus? Didn’t He heal your little girl?” “Where are you Simon Peter?” Silence. And so the stones cried out. The very rocks broke open beneath his feet.
He put His hand upon the sepulchre—the graves were opened. Many of those who died came out of their graves after He resurrected and appeared throughout the city. This event was common knowledge among the people at the time, even as Paul appealed to Agrippa, “This thing was not done in a corner.” Jesus was the “firstfruit” of resurrection. He put His hand upon the grave and opened it for everyone.
He put His hand upon some soldiers—Having seen all these mighty things transpiring, the soldiers feared greatly. They were hardened veterans of Rome’s foreign wars. They were men who feared nothing, yet that day they were afraid. In the morning they had done unspeakable things to Jesus, the Holy One. They had taken carpenter’s tools and nailed him to a cross. Then, unconcerned, they sat down and watched Him. That was 9:00 a.m. But by three in the afternoon, the Centurion said, “This was the Son of God.” People may later have asked this soldier, “What happened to you? You aren’t the same anymore. You don’t swear and do all the things you used to do.” He would say, “I met a man at a place called Calvary. He was dying on a cross. That man was God. That God changed my life.”
*These are notes taken from a message given by Dr. John Phillips (1927-2010) from Matthew chapter 27, entitled, Five Miracles of Calvary. John was an elder statesman of the faith whom I had the privilege of seeing shortly before he died.