I have been wrestling with this passage for the last couple weeks, from Matthew 27:50-54 (NIV below), and would be interested in hearing the thoughts of the community here:
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
This is…wild. This unexplained couple of sentences, thrown out there like it’s no big deal, then onward to the next scene. I don’t get to be the personal arbiter of what is and is not true, but I am finding this miracle very hard to believe, and I can’t just shut down and make myself believe it (as if that would be real belief anyway). As far as physical miracles go, this seems significantly more incredible and unsupportable than the resurrection of Christ. Would this not have gone down in history as the (other) craziest event, ever?
(Side note, I love the image of the curtain tearing and opening our access to God through Christ.)
I think I have been forming a mental construct something like “OK, well there’s a bunch of saga in the Old Testament, particularly in Genesis, and we can’t always determine exactly what is literal or historically accurate, but the New Testament is telling everything straight up”. Perhaps I was oversimplifying, because this passage is cracking at that construct. I don’t subscribe to “inerrancy” in any sense of the word, but still I like my New Testament sealed nicely in a jar. Loosening the lid makes me uncomfortable. Any pearls of wisdom? I am asking the community here because nuance beyond “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” is sometimes hard to find elsewhere.