Tags

, , ,

Crucifixion and darknessIt was a dark day as Jesus hung from the cross. Figuratively and literally. The sun disappeared. Jesus was alone.

Jesus just hung there. Waiting for death to come. Waiting for His mission to be completed.

And where is God?

What is God doing?

God is just letting it happen. Imagine the pain of seeing your Son suffer so. God did it. Jesus did it. The goal was achieved. The mission is completed. It is over.

But God has a plan. Both God and Jesus know that death will accomplish the reconciliation that is needed.

They both know death will be defeated.

They both know that Jesus will be resurrected to reign with God forever.

For the joy that was before him, Jesus suffered the abandonment. Victory would come but first must come the death.

God had a goal in mind. Jesus knew what it was. He would be abandoned and suffer death for us. It must be done. He and he alone could do it.

Jesus never missed God’s goal. Never ever. Jesus would suffer and die for us.

Completely abandoned.

Alone.

No one to help.

From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around mid afternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” | Matthew 27:46 (The Message Bible)

Jesus was crucified at 9 o’clock in the morning; and from 9 until noon, He hung in the light. But at noon, a miraculous darkness covered the land. This was not a sandstorm or an eclipse, as some liberal writers have suggested.

  • It was a heaven-sent darkness that lasted for three hours. It was as though all of creation was sympathizing with the Creator. There were three days of darkness in Egypt before Passover; and there were three hours of darkness before the Lamb of God died for the sins of the world.
  • Jesus had spoken at least three times before this darkness fell. While they were crucifying Him, He repeatedly prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). He had spoken to the repentant thief and assured him a place in paradise (Luke 23:39–43). He had also given His mother into the care of His beloved disciple, John (John 19:18–27). But when the darkness came, Jesus was silent for three hours.
  • After three hours, the darkness left. Then Jesus cried, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” This was a direct quotation from Psalm 22:1. It was during the time of darkness that Jesus had been made sin for us. He had been forsaken by the Father! That darkness was a symbol of the judgment that He endured when He was “made a curse” for us (Gal. 3:13). Psalm 22:2 suggests a period of light and a period of darkness; and Psalm 22:3 emphasizes the holiness of God. How could a holy God look with favor on His Son who had become sin?
  • Jesus spoke these words in Hebrew, and the spectators did not understand Him. They thought He was calling for Elijah to help Him. Had they listened carefully and consulted Psalm 22 in its entirety, they would have understood the truth.

In rapid succession, the Lord spoke three more times. He said, “I thirst” (John 19:28); and this fulfilled Psalm 69:21. Someone took pity on Him and moistened His lips with some sour wine. The others waited to see if perhaps Elijah would come to His rescue.

Then Jesus shouted, “It is finished! Father, into your hands I commit My spirit!” The fact that Jesus shouted with a loud voice indicates that He was in complete control of His faculties. Then He voluntarily yielded up His spirit and died.

Though He was “crucified through weakness” (2 Cor. 13:4), He exercised wonderful power when He died. Three miracles took place simultaneously:

  1. The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom;
  2. an earthquake opened many graves;
  3. some saints arose from the dead.

The rending of the veil symbolized the wonderful truth that the way was now open to God. There was no more need of temples, priests, altars, or sacrifices. Jesus had finished the work of salvation on the cross.

The earthquake reminds us of what happened at Mount Sinai when God gave the Law to Moses. The earthquake at Calvary signified that the demands of the Law had been met and the curse of the Law forever abolished (Heb. 12:18–24). The torn veil indicates that He conquered sin; the earthquake suggests that He conquered the Law and fulfilled it; and the resurrections prove that He defeated death.

  • We are not told who these saints were; they were simply believers who had died. The King James Version suggests that they did not come out of the graves until after His resurrection; the New American Standard Bible agrees with this. It is difficult to believe that they were given life on Friday afternoon and yet remained in their tombs until Sunday. The New International Version suggests that these saints were resurrected immediately and came out of their tombs, but that they did not visit in Jerusalem until after Jesus had been raised from the dead. It is not likely that many Jews would be in the cemetery on Passover, since they might be defiled by the dead. These resurrections could have taken place with nobody finding out at that time.
  • The result of all of this was the testimony of the centurion and those watching. “Truly this was the Son of God.” Did this indicate saving faith? Not necessarily. But certainly it indicated hearts that were open to the truth.
  • The only disciple at the cross when Jesus died was John. But many women were watching from a distance, undoubtedly those who had assisted Him in His ministry. Three women were named: Mary Magdalene, who had been delivered of seven demons; Mary, the mother of James and Joses, who also was at the tomb on Resurrection morning; and Salome, the mother of James and John. Salome had asked Jesus for special thrones for her sons. We wonder how she felt as she saw Him hanging on a cross.