Wednesday night a tornado skirted a mile or two from our home. Since we don't have a basement, we often deliberate about when/if to move the kids into the bathroom, for tornadoes seem to only ever come in the middle of the night. My husband and I will discuss the options and watch radar, and sometimes we wake them, sometimes we don't. But, one thing dangerous weather always does: it commands our full attention.
Likewise, earthquakes rule the moment. When the ground shakes, people pay attention. People stop, hold tight, and realize their vulnerable fragility.
When Jesus died, several miraculous things occurred, but only a few verses give them credit.
All these things came about to wake up the world, "Hello? Are you paying attention? This wasn't just any man that died! It was the Creator, the Savior, the Lord."
One centurion understood.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!" (Matthew 27).
The earthquake shook loose his senses, and he realized what he had actually participated in: the murder of God's Son. The earth illuminated his vision, and He was stunned. This was the Messiah.
After three days, His body sealed within a borrowed tomb, Jesus' life enacted another earthquake. As the angel of the Lord rolled the stone away and Jesus rose from the dead, the ground shuttered. Death had been conquered! (Matthew 28:2)