Sunday, September 8, 2013
THREE HOURS OF DARKNESS
Both the gospels of Matthew and Luke record that the sun stopped shining and a total darkness came over the land from the sixth hour until the ninth hour prior to Jesus’ death on the cross. Then he cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He was echoing the words of King David in Psalm 22 who was also experiencing a painful separation from God and was vainly appealing to God for acceptance. Those three hours of darkness were a period of great duress when the gravity of all the sins of the world were being taken upon God himself to atone for them as the final blood sacrifice for all mankind. There is no scientific explanation for such a phenomenon. Science records, for instance, that the longest duration eclipse of the sun is seven and one half minutes.
The Jewish clock begins at sunrise, so this darkness descended right in the middle of the day when the sun is at its brightest overhead. Total daylight hours are divided by twelve to arrive at each Sha’ah Zemanit or proportional hour. Those three hours of darkness had to be both physical and spiritual. They were symbolic of the separation of the Son from the light of the Father who had been together for all time. And of course, the Prince of Darkness has long been associated with world sin. If you’ve ever experienced total darkness, such as exploring an underground cave, it will definitely get your attention! All the people in the land surely must have known that something very extraordinary was happening. Revelation informs us that in the ultimate new heaven and new earth there will be no need for a sun or moon, as God’s eternal light will always be present. That infers that those who have not chosen to be with God will spend eternity away from the presence of God in a state of total darkness. No one would wish that fate on anyone if they had experienced such a painful separation for those three hours.
We all have the ability to be the carriers of the light of God’s grace to assure that others will not suffer this terrible fate.