(One Perfect Life Chapters 194-196) The events following Jesus crucifixion were miraculous and fulfilled prophecies. The curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was 4 inches thick and 45 feet high. This curtain was torn at Jesus death from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). No man could have done this. The parting of the curtain signified that God was opening the way for all people to reach Him through the death of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19-22). “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Also at Jesus’ death there was a great earthquake which opened graves and some of the dead were raised to life and went into the city to testify of Jesus. After seeing these events, the centurion standing guard by Jesus (to ensure He died) proclaimed, “Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39). He is the only person recoded in the Gospel of Mark to have made this declaration.
To hasten the deaths of the men being crucified, Pilate approved their legs be broken. When they came to Jesus they found He was already dead. His legs were not broken. This fulfills the requirement for the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:46) and fulfills the prophecy in Psalm 34:10 that no bone would be broken.
When Jesus was found to be dead, a soldier pierced His side in fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 12:10, “they will look at Me whom they pierced; and they will mourn for Him, like one mourning for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.”
Joseph of Arimathea was a rich man who requested that Pilate allow him to take and burry the body of Jesus. Again we see the fulfillment of prophecy. In Isaiah 53:9 we are told that the Messiah would die among criminals but be buried in a rich man’s grave. This is exactly what happened. Fulfilled prophecy is the greatest evidence of the authority and reliability of scripture. We can have full confidence on God’s word, as Jesus said, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
Joseph took Jesus body and prepared it for burial by wrapping it in linen cloth after anointing it with myrrh and aloes. The opening to the grave was covered with a large stone. Bodies were placed in graves for one year to allow them to decompose. The bones would then be retrieved and placed in a box and returned to the grave. Jesus had predicted His resurrection after three days – this was the sign of Jonah. He had confidence from Psalm 16:10, “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; You will not allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.”
The apostle Paul tells us that after Jesus died He descended into Sheol to retrieve the souls of the faithful who had died expecting that Messiah bring them into the presence of God (Ephesians 4:7-10).