How can you explain Matthew 27:52–53?
“Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” Matthew 27:50–53
This event occurred as a testimony to the immortal power ascribed to Jesus Christ alone (1 Timothy 6:14–16). Only God has the power of life and death (1 Samuel 2:6; Deuteronomy 32:29). Therefore, the resurrection is the cornerstone of Christianity. All other religions and their respective leaders do not serve a risen Lord. By overcoming death, Jesus Christ immediately receives precedence because He came back to life when everyone else did not. The resurrection has given the Christian a reason to tell others about Him and place trust in God (1 Corinthians 15:14). The resurrection has given us assurance that our sins are forgiven (1 Corinthians 15:17). Paul says in this verse that no resurrection equals zero forgiveness of our sins. And, finally, the resurrection has given us a reason to have hope today (1 Corinthians 15:20–28). If Christ was not raised from the dead, then Christians would be no better off spiritually than non-Christians. But the fact is that God did rise
“But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Romans 4:24–25
The raising of the saints fits into the overall rhetorical devices and strategies used by Matthew in his gospel. Examining Ezekiel 37 and the bones raised to life in connection with this story reveals that an Old Testament prophecy was fulfilled in the raising of these saints. Additionally, the raising of the saints relates directly to the coming kingdom. The raising of a few and not all of the saints shows that Jesus has power to resurrect, but also points forward to the second coming and judgment of Jesus the Christ, which will include all those whose names are written in the Book of Life by faith in the grace of God. (1 Corinthians 15:52).