Scripture Reading: Leviticus 23:1-24:23 / Mark 15:33-47 / Psalm 32:1-11
Darkness is defined as the opposite of brightness and the absence of light. Darkness is often used in Scripture as a symbol of sin and sin’s effects. John writes, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)
Nowhere in scripture was the darkness of sin more evident than when Jesus was crucified. “At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour.” (Mark 15:33) Jesus was crucified at 9am and at noon, the atmosphere at the cross began to change. A supernatural phenomenon of darkness blanketed the land until 3pm.
The sun went dark…no light, no moon, no stars – Pitch Black! This extraordinary midnight darkness (at midday) can be found in the historical archives of the Romans. One ancient entry, “Either the Divine Being suffers, or suffers with Him that suffers, or the frame of the world is dissolving.” The darkness that covered the land was a frightening, eerie and a disturbing moment.
For the Jews, this darkness only meant one thing – this was an act of God. This was the same darkness of divine judgment that God brought upon Egypt. God told Moses to stretch out his hand to the heavens and God sent a plague of darkness so intense and thick that it could be felt.
God will unleash his dark wrath and judgment during The Day of The Lord. Amos and Zephaniah prophesied of a divine judgment accompanied by supernatural darkness. As Jesus bore our sin upon the cross, God’s judgment was being pronounced on Him.
At the three o clock hour, Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (15:34) This is the only time in the entire New Testament where Jesus refers to God as anything other than “Father”. From noon until three, hell came to Golgotha as God showed up in wrath. His wrath was not unleashed upon the Jewish leaders but upon His Son. This is the cup Jesus anticipated in the Garden, praying for its removal.
This moment was so surreal that during those three hours of darkness, all of the mocking, sneering, scorning and taunting ceased. The sacrifice for sin was being made and the price for sin was being paid. He was made sin for us who knew no sin…He was made a curse for us. How deep and dark is our sin? Darker and deeper than we can ever imagine! During His discourses, Jesus described hell as “outer darkness”. Hell is the ultimate black hole where there’s weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth in eternal blackness. Jesus took upon Himself our sin and endured the darkness of hell’s fury so we can live in The Light…and not in darkness!