Matthew Chapter 27, Verse 45-Matthew Chapter 27, Verse 48
"Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the earth until
the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice,
and said, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, my God my God, why
hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that
said, this man calleth for Elias. And straight way one of them ran, and
took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave
Him to drink."
This is the sign which before He had promised to give them when they
asked it, saying, "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign,
and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas;
" meaning His cross, and His death, His burial, and His resurrection. And
again, declaring in another way the virtue of the cross, He said, "When
ye have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall ye know that I am He." And
what He saith is to this purport: "When ye have crucified me, and think
ye have overcome me, then, above all, shall ye know my might."
For after the crucifixion, the city was destroyed, and the Jewish state
came to an end, they fell away from their polity and their freedom, the
gospel flourished, the word' was spread abroad to the ends of the world;
both sea and land, both the inhabited earth and the desert perpetually
proclaim its' power. These things then He meaneth, and those which took
place at the very time of the crucifixion. For indeed it was much more
marvellous that these things should be done, when He was nailed to the
cross, than when He was walking on earth. And not in this respect only
was the wonder, but because from heaven also was that done which. they
had sought, and it was over all the world, which had never before happened,
but in Egypt only, when the passover was to be fulfilled. For indeed those
events were a type of these.
And observe when it took place. At midday, that all that dwell on the
earth may know it, when it was day all over the world; which was enough
to convert them, not by the greatness of the miracle only, but also by
its taking place in due season. For after all their insulting, and their
lawless derision, this is done, when they had let go their anger, when
they had ceased mocking, when they were satiated with their jeerings, and
had spoken all that they were minded; then He shows the darkness, in order
that at least so (having vented their anger) they may profit by the miracle.
For this was more marvellous than to come down from the cross, that being
on the cross He should work these things. For whether they thought He Himself
had done it, they ought to have believed and to have feared; or whether
not He, but the Father, yet thereby ought they to have been moved to compunction,
for that darkness was a token of His anger at their crime. For that it
was not an eclipse, but both wrath and indignation, is not hence alone
manifest, but also by the time, for it continued three hours, but an eclipse
takes place in one moment of time, and they know it, who have seen this;
and indeed it hath taken place even in our generation.
And how, you may say, did not all marvel, and account Him to be God?
Because the race of man was then held in a state of great carelessness
and vice. And this miracle was but one, and when it had taken place, immediately
passed away; and no one was concerned to inquire into the cause of it,
and great was the prejudice and the habit of ungodliness. And they knew
not what was the cause of that which took place, and they thought perhaps
this happened so, in the way of an eclipse or some natural effect. And
why dost thou marvel about them that are without, that knew nothing, neither
inquired by reason of great indifference, when even those that were in
Judaea itself, after so many miracles, yet continued using Him despitefully,
although He plainly showed them that He Himself wrought this thing.
And for this reason, even after this He speaks, that they might learn
that He was still alive, and that He Himself did this, and that they might
become by this also more gentle, and He saith, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?"
that unto His last breath they might see that He honors His Father, and
is no adversary of God. Wherefore also He uttered a certain cry from the
prophet, even to His last hour bearing witness to the Old Testament, and
not simply a cry from the prophet, but also in Hebrew, so as to be plain
and intelligible to them, and by all things He shows how He is of one mind
with Him that begat Him.
But mark herein also their wantonness, and intemperance, and folly.
They thought (it is said) that it was Elias whom He called, and straightway
they gave Him vinegar to drink. But another came unto Him, and "pierced
His side with a spear." What could be more lawless, what more brutal, than
these men; who carried their madness to so great a length, offering insult
at last even to a dead body?
But mark thou, I pray thee, how He made use of their wickednesses for
our salvation. For after the blow the fountains of our salvation gushed
forth from thence.
"And Jesus, when He had cried with a loud voice, yielded up the Ghost."
This is what He said, "I have power to lay down my life, and I have power
to take it again," and, "I lay it down of myself." So for this cause He
cried with the voice, that it might be shown that the act is done by power.
Mark at any rate saith, that "Pilate marvelled if He were already dead:"
and that the centurion for this cause above all believed, because He died
This cry rent the veil, and opened the tombs, and made the house desolate.
And He did this, not as offering insult to the temple (for how should He,
who saith, "Make not my Father's house a house of merchandise," but declaring
them to be unworthy even of His abiding there; like as also when He delivered
it over to the Babylonians. But not for this only were these things done,
but what took place was a prophecy of the coming desolation, and of the
change into the greater and higher state; and a sign of His might.
And together with these things He showed Himself also by what followed
after these things, by the raising of the dead. For in the instance of
Elisha; one on touching a dead body rose again, but now by a voice He raised
them, His body continuing up there, on the cross. And besides, those things
were a type of this. For that this might be believed, therefore is that
all done. And they are not merely raised, but also rocks are rent, and
the earth shaken, that they might learn, that He was able to strike themselves
blind, and to rend them in pieces. For He that cleft rocks asunder, and
darkened the world, much more could have done these things to them, had
it been His will. But He would not, but having discharged His wrath upon
the elements, them it was His will to save by clemency. But they abated
not their madness. Such is envy, such is jealousy, it is not easily stayed.
At that time then they were impudent in setting themselves against the
actual appearances; and afterwards even against the things themselves,
when a seal being put upon Him, and soldiers watching Him, He rose again,
and they heard these things from the very guards; they even gave money,
in order both to corrupt others, and to steal away the history of the resurrection.
Marvel not therefore if at this time also they were perverse, being
thus altogether prepared to set themselves impudently against all things;
but observe this other point, how great signs He had wrought, some from
Heaven, some on earth, some in the very temple, at once marking His indignation,
and at the same time showing that what were unapproachable are now to be
entered, and that Heaven shall be opened; and the work removed to the true
Holy of Holies. And they indeed said, "If He be the King of Israel, let
Him come down now from the cross," but He shows that He is King of all
the world. And whereas those men said, "Thou that destroyest this temple,
and buildest it in three days," He shows that it shall be made forever
desolate. Again they said, "He saved others, Himself He cannot save." but
He while abiding on the cross proved this most abundantly on the bodies
of His servants. For if for Lazarus to rise on the fourth day was a great
thing, how much more for all those who had long ago fallen asleep, at once
to appear alive, which was a sign of the future resurrection. For, "many
bodies of the saints which slept, arose," it is said, "and went into the
holy city, and appeared to many." For in order that what was done might
not be accounted to be an imagination, they appear, even to many, in the
city. And the Centurion too then glorified God, saying, "Truly this was
a righteous man. And the multitudes that came together to that sight, returned
beating their breasts." So great was the power of the crucified, that after
so many mockings, and scoffs, and jeers, both the centurion was moved to
compunction, and the people. And some say that there is also a martyrdom
of this centurion, who after these things grew to manhood in the faith.