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Scripture Reading: Matthew 27:50-54

What Happened After They Were Raised?


1.   Grave opened; many saints were raised and appeared to many people, Matt 27:51-53.
2.   How did their resurrection occur? Why did it happen? What became of them after they were resurrected?
3.   What we know for sure:
   a.   Tombs were opened by earthquake when Jesus died.
   b.   Many bodies of dead saints were raised from the dead.
   c.   They came out of their graves after Christ was resurrected.
   d.   They went into Jerusalem and appeared to many people.
   e.   THEY WERE ALIVE (Not zombies: “a will-less and speechless human in the West Indies capable only of automatic movement who is held to have died and been supernaturally reanimated…a person held to resemble the so-called walking dead.”), Merriam-Webster. (According to Voodoo belief, jrp)
4.   Some have speculated they ascended into heaven (McGarvey).
   -Little doubt “these resurrected are symbolic, showing that the resurrection of Christ is the resurrection of the race” (TFG, 732).
5.   Take a look at bodily resurrection to strengthen our understanding and our faith concerning resurrection.


   A.   The Life Force is Restored to the Flesh.
      1.   cf. Death, Jas 2:26.
      2.   cf. Resurrections from the dead:
         a.   1 Kgs 17:17-23: Soul (nephesh, life) came back to body.
         b.   2 Kgs 4:32-35: Flesh is warm (functioning, alive) again.
         c.   Lk 7:15: Resurrected person could speak.
         d.   Lk 8:55: Normal bodily functions resumed.
         e.   Jno 11:14, 17, 43-44: Another ex. of full bodily function.
         f.    Acts 9:37, 40-41: Cognitive responses.
   B.   Summary of Characteristics of those Raised from the Dead:
      1.   They were living, Lk 24:5.

      2.   They had bodies, Lk 24:36-43. (Not spirits, not ghosts)
      3.   They were conscious, cognitive, physical activity, Jno 12:1-2.


   A.   As an Act of Divine Mercy, cf. Lk 7:12-13.
   B.   Provide Confirming Evidence of God’s Power, Presence and Approval.
      1.   By this she knew Elijah was a prophet, 1 Kgs 17:24.
      2.   Evidence of God’s approval and presence, Lk 7:16-17.
      3.   Matt 27:52-53: Though not stated, we conclude the same purpose was behind these resurrections.
   C.   What did these Resurrections Accomplish?

      -Miraculous evidence given on which faith could be built.
      1.   Many believed, Jno 11:45; 12:10-11, 17-18; Acts 9:42.
      2.   If true of Lazarus and Dorcas, why not also Matt 27:52-53?
         -This is neither a deterrent from faith nor a distraction to faith; it is an opportunity to glorify God, cf. Lk 7:15-16.


   A.   They Continued to Live their Lives until they Died, cf. 1 Cor 15:22 (“all die”).
      1.   1 Kgs 17:22: “See, your son lives!”
      2.   Lk 7:15: “And He presented him to his mother.”
      3.   Jno 12:1-2: Lazarus resumed his normal activities of life.
      4.   To do otherwise would defeat the purpose and lesson of resurrection!
   B.   What about the Saints in Matthew 27:52-53?
      1.   First, no direct statement of them after they “appeared to many.” (So, we would do well not to conjecture.)
      2.   Two possibilities:
         a.   If they appeared and then ascended to God’s presence (paradise) they may be viewed as demonstrating “that the sting was now taken from death, that the power of the grave was broken, that men shall rise again with their bodies and be known and recognized…” (Pulpit Commentary, XV:595). cf. 1 Cor 15:20, 22

         b.   If they lived out their physical lives and died, it would be as others who had been raised from the dead.

             (Exception: Jesus, Acts 2:24; Col 1:18; Rev 1:18. He will resurrect our bodies, 1 Cor 15:20-22).


-Lessons for Us:
1.   Christ has power over phys. and spiritual death, Jno 11:25-26.
2.   We must put faith in Him and His power over death, Rev 1:18.
3.   We will experience a bodily resurrection, Jno 5:28-29.
4.   We must experience a spiritual resurrection to be raised to (eternal) life, Col 2:12.



1.   Past resurrections assure us of God’s power over death. They prove Jesus is the Christ. Christians take comfort in knowing death is not the end of our existence.
2.   Are you ready for your death and your resurrection?