Well, they’re the first Group about whom Matthew then reported. “But the tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the fallen-asleep holy ones were raised and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and were made known to many.”
I suppose that, these days here in Jersey, we shouldn’t be surprised that there would be this marvellous sign about those already dead in AD 30. These were a sign that those made holy before ever Jesus came and died and rose again, even though they too had already died, would be resurrected through him.
But what about the living people there at Calvary the moment Jesus died? Matthew wrote. "But when the centurion and those who were with him watching Jesus saw the earthquake and what took place, they were extremely frightened, stating, “Truly, this man was the Son of God!”" They knew who he was.
Who do you think might be the third group? After those “fallen-asleep holy ones” and after those alive and seeing it all take place? You’d never have guessed unless you’d read it. Matthew wrote, "But many women were there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, serving him. Among them was Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee."
Jesus has just died. But many women who’d followed and served him, were there. They were just like the bystander who, just before Jesus’ last breath, "immediately ran took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave it to Jesus to drink." They’d followed him and served him just as the bystander had done.
These three groups of people, about whom Matthew reports, were wonderfully blessed. The fallen-asleep holy ones, the centurion, and those faithful women watching Jesus.
But what about the 12 disciples as a group? Matthew couldn’t write about these male closest followers of Jesus because they weren’t there. What do you make of that? One of them had deliberately given Jesus away in exchange for money. Another had sworn on oath that he knew nothing of Jesus and Matthew reports nothing at all about the other ten – at this stage.