Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Friday, March 20, 2015
When cave or mine tours are given, at some point the guide is apt to turn off all lights in the underground chamber. This condition allows those on the tour to experience utter darkness – a time where a hand placed in front of your face is completely invisible. Most people can’t imagine anything darker. The day of Jesus’ crucifixion, however, was dark both physically and spiritually and surpassed any physical darkness we can create.
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour, noon until 3pm, darkness came over all the land (Matthew 27:45). As He hung on the Cross, Jesus was under the frowns of Heaven, in the midst of extraordinary injuries and indignities from men. Surely this was the greatest darkness ever experienced on Earth.
An eclipse of the sun caused the physical darkness. It was a miraculous and unprecedented three-hour solar eclipse, not experienced before or since (Matthew 27:25). The darkness was recorded to be “all over the Earth”, but this probably meant all over the land of Israel, the Promised Land, and surrounding nations. Nothing so unusual had happened with the sun since Hezekiah’s time when the sun and shadows went backwards (Isaiah 20:9-11). It is reported that Dionysius, at Heliopolis in Egypt, took notice of this darkness and said “Either the God of nature is suffering, or the machine of the world is tumbling into ruin.” We know now it was the former.
Darkness at Jesus’ death is a symbolic match to the extraordinary light that signified His birth in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:2). It is fitting and proper for an unmatched darkness to notify the world of His death, for He is the Light of the World (John 8:12). The indignities perpetrated on our LORD Jesus astonished the heavens, made them horribly afraid, and put them in disorder and confusion. The Son of God put to death – wickedness of this magnitude had never been experienced under the sun, which therefore withdrew so it would not see the horror. On this day, the sun “closed its eyes”.
God designed this astonishing and unexpected darkness to silence the mouths of blasphemers, who were reviling Christ as He hung on the Cross. The effect was only partial, however. Whereas the event struck them with terror and made them mute temporarily, their hearts were not changed and stood doubting the meaning for three hours until the darkness receded and they spoke again (v. 47). Then, as with Pharaoh when each plague terminated, they hardened their hearts once more.
The intention of the darkness was to show Christ’s conflict with the powers of darkness. The prince of this world, along with his forces, the rulers of the darkness of this world, was to be cast out and vanquished. To make His victory more illustrious, Jesus fought them on their own ground, giving all the advantages they could have against Him by this conqueror. Even with a “home court advantage”, Jesus vanquished them easily.
The darkness also emphasized Jesus’ lack of heavenly comforts. It signified that dark cloud under which the human soul of our LORD Jesus hung. God allows the sun to shine upon the just and the unjust, but even the light of the sun was withheld from our Savior on this day, when He was made sin for us.
It is a joy to behold the sun with our eyes, but because His soul was bursting with sorrow and the cup of divine displeasure was filled without mixture, even the light of the sun was suspended. When the Earth and man denied Him a drop of water to quench His thirst, Heaven denied Him a beam of light. Moreover, needing to deliver us from utter darkness, He walked in darkness in the midst of His sufferings and had no light (Matthew 27:45).
During the three hours of His sufferings, Scripture does not record Him saying a word, with all present passing the time in silent retreat into His own soul, which was now in agony and wrestling with the powers of darkness. He was also taking in the impressions of His Father’s displeasure, not against Himself, but the sin of man, for which He was now making His soul an offering.
Utter darkness is not normal. Never were there three such horrid hours since the day God created man upon the Earth. Never had there been such a terrifying scene – the crisis of the great sacrifice, which was needed for man’s redemption and salvation. Darkness is the absence of light, and as Jesus was put to death, the Light of the world and the light of the world were consumed with utter darkness. Praise God that the Light of the world was not extinguished permanently, for He is our only hope (Acts 4:12).
Note: Today the world also experiences a solar eclipse. On Passover, March 4th, the third of four blood moons will occur. Sunday, March 5th, we celebrate Easter. What amazing signs God puts in the heavens!
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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