Sun Stand Still, Day 20. Darkness Falls
Next week we will honor the sacrifice of Jesus on Good Friday. For a moment darkness falls over the Earth on Good Friday. God’s own Son goes to His death to save us from the darkness in our hearts. While He is walking out this terrifying mission, His followers seem to do everything they can to show how little we humans deserve the favor.
God is a God of Light: He can’t tolerate darkness, and darkness cannot survive in His presence. We, who have dark hearts full of sin, should tremble at this fact, but Jesus, who was completely good, took on our sin and stood under the wrath of God.
On the cross, He was destroyed and cut off from His Father. It was to have been our fate. In the midst of humanity’s own darkest hour, and in the face of His followers’ cowardice, selfishness and laziness, God does not cut us off. In His awesome mercy, He sends His own Son into the darkness so that we might live in the light.
Take some time to meditate on the following scripture passage.
So Pilate, anxious to please the crowd, released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to crucify him. The soldiers took him into their headquarters and called out the entire battalion. They dressed him in a purple robe and made a crown of long, sharp thorns and put it on his head. Then they saluted, yelling, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they beat him on the head with a stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified. A man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the country just then, and they forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means Skull Hill). They offered him wine drugged with myrrh, but he refused it. Then they nailed him to the cross. They gambled for his clothes, throwing dice to decide who would get them. It was nine o’clock in the morning when the crucifixion took place. A signboard was fastened to the cross above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “The King of the Jews.” Two criminals were crucified with him, their crosses on either side of his. And the people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You can destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days, can you? Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!” The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the two criminals who were being crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.
And darkness fell
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. Then, at that time Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a stick so he could drink. “Leave him alone. Let’s see whether Elijah will come and take him down!” he said. Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
Please spend some time praying for the following:
• For those who have never heard the word of salvation
• For those who have lost their faith
• For those hardened by sin or indifference
• For the contemptuous and the scornful
• For those who are enemies of the cross of Christ and persecutors of his disciples
• For those who in the name of Christ have persecuted others
• That God will open their hearts to the truth, and lead them to faith and obedience.
O God of unchanging power and eternal light: Look favorably on Your whole church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the working of Your providence, carry out Your plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down
are being raised up, things which had grown old are being made new, and that the weak and weary are being made strong. Though sometimes it is hidden to our eyes, these things are being done by the One through whom all things were made, Your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Grant us patience, faith, courage, and hope worthy of eternity.