Sunday Morning Greek Blog

February 21, 2011

Let the Sleeping Saints Arise!

Filed under: Biblical Studies,Greek,Matthew Gospel of,New Testament — Scott Stocking @ 6:15 pm

From February 17, 2011.

Just a quick note this morning on a great bit of verbal artistry in Matthew 27:52. The TNIV renders the passage rather blandly, in spite of the miraculous event it records: “The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.” In the Greek, the phrase reads like this: πολλὰ σώματα τῶν κεκοιμημένων ἁγίων ἠγέρθησαν (polla sōmata tōn kekoimēmenōn hagiōn ēgerthēsan), which literally reads, “Many bodies of the sleeping saints were resurrected.” (I think I may have even topped Eugene Peterson’s [The Message] translation of the passage.)

When I read that, I had to stop and revel in the profundity of that phrase. Many of you probably know that the concept of sleeping (here, the verb κοιμάω koimaō ‘sleep’) in the NT is a euphemism for death. And in fact, the people in Matthew 27:52 had been dead, “sleeping” in their tombs. I don’t recall ever seeing that part of the resurrection story depicted in movies about the crucifixion (it’s been a while since I’ve watched any of them, though). This is a phenomenal miracle that gets overlooked by many in light of the admittedly greater importance of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

But here’s the rub. What signification (see my use of that word in my previous note) does the death of Jesus have for you? At the risk of trivializing the miracle of that crucifixion day, I have a question for you (and myself): Are you a “sleeping saint”? Do I need to carry this analogy any further? I leave you to your own musings on this subject.

I’d love to write more, but it’s time to get ready for work. I’d love to hear your comments.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Let the Sleeping Saints Arise! […]

    Pingback by The Passion Week of Christ « Sunday Morning Greek Blog — March 11, 2012 @ 2:18 pm | Reply


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