Daily Reading and Devotional from the Gospels
33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. 36 And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.
37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. 38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. 39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. 40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; 41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.
One hundred and fifty seven years ago a young Robert Louis Stevenson was said to be looking out into the darkness from his upstairs window. He was watching a man light the oil filled street lamps below. When asked what he was doing the young man replied, “I am watching a man cut holes in the darkness”
In today’s reading we see that during crucifixion of our Lord there were three hours of unusual darkness. Do you remember another period of supernatural Bible blackout? How about the ninth plague of Egypt? In Exodus 10:21-24 we read about three days in which the sun’s light was hidden. Think about that, the primary god of the Egyptians was “Ra”, the supposed sun god. Isn’t that great? Our God showed those Egyptians who is really God of the sun! The Bible called that three day period of uninterrupted night a “darkness which may be felt” (Ex 10:21). How dark does it have to be in order for someone to feel it? I have never experienced a physical darkness that I could feel but I have experienced a spiritual one. There is a darkness of the soul, a greater darkness, a darkness that is perceived less with the eyes and more with the heart. It is a darkness of fear, loneliness and hopelessness. If only there were someone who could cut holes in that kind of darkness.
For wicked Pharaoh and his people, a greater darkness followed the appearance of light. The last plague was the death of the first born of Egypt. When the lights came back on, their firstborn died and God’s people were set free. That final plague broke their will to resist and Egypt freed their slaves.
I believe that Old Testament event was a foreshadow of the one in today’s reading. It was during that three hours of darkness that Jesus cried out to the father, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” What was the answer to that question? He was forsaken so that we would never be forsaken! After the three hours, when the light of the was sun no longer concealed, the death of God’s only begotten was revealed. The period of darkness ended, the firstborn of every creature died (Col 1:15), and freedom was declared for all that trust in him. Jesus provided deliverance from that darkness of the soul with all of its hopelessness, fear and separation. Look into today’s Scripture reading. What do you see?
A Man cutting holes in the darkness!