Why does only Matthew mention people raised from the dead when Jesus died?

Why is this fuller account only in Matthew?



Matthew 27:50-53

The events at the cross on that day were not typical acts; rather, they fulfilled the types concerning the Lord’s death. The rending of the veil was not a typical act in an earthly sanctuary which showed that the death of Christ gave access to God in the heavenly sanctuary. The rent veil showed that the death of Christ ended the typical sacrifices of the Old Covenant. God was finished with those types; they were fulfilled in the once-for-all offering of the body of Christ (Hebrews 10:10). We do not enter the heavenly sanctuary through a rent veil nor through the "rent body of Christ." We enter through the veil, that is to say His flesh (v 20). It is a living way (v 19), by means of a living Christ.

Matthew writes for the Jews, Mark for Roman proselytes (like Cornelius), and Luke for Gentiles. The Gentiles needed to know that the Jewish system of sacrifices had ended. Instead of being excluded from the value of the offerings, they have an equal claim on divine blessings because of the cross. Mark and Luke therefore include the rending of the veil.

On the other hand, the Jews needed confirmation that their sacrificial system had ended. That may be the reason that Matthew tells about the darkness (Matthew 27:45) and the earthquake (v 51). When the sacrificial system was initiated, it was with a thick cloud (Exodus 19:16) and a quaking mountain (v 18). The God Who spoke then, spoke now with the same "presence" and power. He ended that sacrificial system. The second confirmation ("in the mouth of two of three witnesses . . .") was the appearance in Jerusalem of saints returned to life. The Law came with the threat of death (Exodus 19:12, 21) at Sinai. The end of the legal system of sacrifices came at Jerusalem through the life-giving "word of the cross" (1 Corinthians 1:18, ESV).

D. Oliver