Scripture Reading: Exodus 13:1-14:31 / Matthew 27:45-66 / Proverbs 4:20-27
Albert Einstein defines darkness as the absence of light. Light can be measured and studied but darkness cannot be measured without light. Newton’s prism is used to break white light into many colors and the wavelengths of each color can be measured. Darkness can only be defined and measured by the amount of light present. A simple ray of light can pierce the world of darkness and bring powerful illumination.
Darkness played a very significant part in Christ’s crucifixion. “From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land.” (Matthew 27:45) Jesus was placed on the cross at 9am and at noon the atmosphere became eerie and dark. A supernatural phenomenon of darkness blanketed the land from noon to 3pm. This extraordinary midnight darkness at midday was recorded by Roman historians, “Either the divine being suffers, or suffers with him that suffers, or the frame of the world is dissolving.”
We don’t know how far the darkness went – Calvary, Jerusalem, Judea but it did engulf the nation in fear, alarm and disturbing mystery. Some have suggested the phenomenon of darkness was a result of a natural eclipse. This is refuted because Passover occurred during a full moon and eclipses do not occur with a full moon. Others suggest that the darkness was the presence of satan bringing the power of darkness upon Christ. Satan’s kingdom is characterized by moral and spiritual darkness but this was a physical darkness.
The Jews realized this darkness only meant one thing…it was an act of God. Like the plague of darkness in Egypt, this darkness could be felt and it was a manifestation of God’s divine judgment. God’s judgment was being pronounced upon sin, the sin that Jesus bore on the cross. At 3pm, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (vs.46) This is the only time Jesus ever refers to God as anything other than Father.
God unleashed the full extent of His fury on Jesus as Isaiah says, “Wrath with fierce anger.” (13:9) This is the cup Jesus anticipated in the garden of Gethsemane…a cup of wrath and judgment. There is no record of sneering, scorning, mocking or taunting during these 3 hours of darkness. No one said anything, not even Jesus.
God made a covenant with Abraham and after he cut the animals for sacrifice, he fell asleep waiting for God. As the sun was going down God showed up in the midst of terror and great darkness. He walked through the sacrifice, completing His covenant with man. The Son of God hung in darkness and established a new covenant with man. Out of the darkness, the light of revelation shone on those who witnessed the intensity of Christ’s crucifixion. In the midst of the darkness, the soldiers exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (vs.54) Light overcame the darkness!