THE TRIUMPH. A Few Words.
CHRIST worked wonderful miracles, raised the dead, and cured all kinds of diseases to prove his claims to be the long expected Messiah: the "Anointed ": "The Christ." (John 1, 41; iv. 25; xiii, 19.) But at his death all except his Mother seem to to have lost faith in him.
The moment he was crucified began a series of most wonderful miracles, recorded by the people who saw them. Earth and sun, moon and stars, all nature,—even the dead show forth his divinity, and these wonders continued afterward for generations attracting pagans to his teachings. The greatest miracle is that the empire of Christianity has continued to spread over the world in one unbroken triumph till our day.
As he foretold, on the third day he rose from the tomb, appeared many times to his followers, remained with them for forty days, and then, in the presence of five hundred people, he ascended into heaven.
THE MIRACLES AT THE DEATH OF CHRIST.
"And Jesus, again crying out with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom. And the earth quaked and the rocks were rent. And the graves were opened. And many bodies of the saints that had slept arose. And coming out of the tombs after his resurrection came into the Holy City and appeared to many." (Matt, xxvii. 50- 53.)
The ground trembled, the crosses rocked back and forth, the rocks were torn asunder with frightful noise, and great cracks seamed the yellowish white limestone of Judea, laying bare the subsoil arid extending deep into the earth, as the prophets had foretold.
"Blow ye the trumpet in Sion, sound an alarm in my holy mountain, let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, because the day of the Lord cometh ... a day of darkness and of gloominess .... at their presence the earth hath trembled, and the heavens are moved, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood. (1 Joel ii. 1, 2, 10, 31.) "And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that the sun shall go down at midday, and I will make the earth dark in the day of light." (Amos viii. 8. 9.)
Beside the cross extending east and west, contrary to the rock strata, opened a great rent. It is still shown visitors in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It extends down to the cave under Calvary, where tradition says Melchisedech buried Adam's body, and if we believe the legend, when his side was opened with the spear, the blood of the dead Redeemer flowed down even into the mouth of Adam, whose sin in eating the forbidden fruit called forth the eternal decree of the Saviour.
St. Cyril of Alexandria and other Fathers of the Church call attention to this deep fissure in the rock.
Scientists have in our day examined it and pronounced it miraculous. Man had refused to believe in him, and all nature testified to his Divinity: "He looketh upon the earth and maketh it tremble." (Psalm ciii. 32.) " And you shall flee, as you fled from the face of the earthquake in the days of Ozias king of Juda, and the Lord, my God, shall come and all the saints with him. And it shall come to pass in that day that there shall be no light, but cold and frost. And there shall be one day, which is known to the Lord. And it shall come to pass in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem . .. And the Lord shall be King over all the earth, in that day there shall be one Lord and his name shall be one." (Zach. xiv. 5-9.) Here we find a revelation of the darkness, of the earthquake, of the saints rising from the side of Christ, and of the reign of Christ from the cross over all the world.