“It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour.” (Luke 23:44 NIV84)
I have been putting off this devotion for hours. This verse makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It’s beyond the feeling I have when I watch a horror film … and I hate horror films. They scare me! Not enough is said about this 3-hour period of darkness. It wasn’t contemplating the crucifixion that caused Jesus to sweat great drops of blood in Gethsemane. It was this period of darkness. Creation itself reacted as the sun went dark for 3 hours. God’s wrath was being inflicted upon His own Son as Jesus bore all humanity’s sins. Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath to the last drop. He bore every tormenting blow. It was during this time that Jesus said, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Jesus experienced the punishment we rightly deserve but will never have to face because He faced it for us.
It was in this darkness that our salvation was won. Jesus paid our eternal debt. It was toward the end of this darkness that Jesus said, “Tetelestai!” (It is finished!). God’s justice had been fully satisfied and our salvation was won. The temple curtain that was the physical sign of a necessary separation between God and man for thousands of years tore in two to signify that there was no longer a need for separation. Sin was atoned for and now we were righteous in God’s sight. His Holy Spirit could now dwell in our hearts. We could now be born again and made new by His transforming power.
We human beings will have dark days during this journey we call life. But all of our dark days combined dim in comparison to the 3 hours of darkness Jesus experienced on the cross. And because He experienced God’s wrath on our behalf, we will never, ever experience that dark of a day.
Praise be to God!