281 - Darkness and Death
OCTOBER 8 - Nº 281 Matthew 27:45-56; Mark 15:33-41; Luke 23:44-49; John 19:25-37
Jesus looked up and saw his mother standing near the cross with several other women. John, one of his disciples, was also standing there. Jesus spoke to Mary, “Dear woman, John is now your son.” Then he turned to John and said, “And she is now your mother.” From then on, John took Mary into his home and loved her as his own mother. Suddenly darkness covered the entire land. From noon until three o’clock no one could see the sun! At three o’clock Jesus finally cried out, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (This is the only time in Scripture that Jesus addressed God as anything but ‘Father.’) God’s holiness could not allow Him to remain in the presence of His son as he accepted the sins of the whole world. Their relationship was temporarily severed! Some of those standing nearby heard Jesus’ cry and thought he was calling for Elijah. Then Jesus spoke out again saying, “I am thirsty.” A man nearby ran to get a sponge. He filled it with wine and vinegar and put it on a long hyssop branch. Some of the people watching said, “Leave him alone. We want to see if Elijah comes to save him.” But the man offered it to Jesus. Jesus had something very important to say and he wanted his words to be heard, so he accepted the drink and announced, “It is finished!” Jesus had accomplished everything he had come to do. The penalty for sin was fully paid! No longer did anyone have to be separated from God. With a loud voice he cried out, “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.” Then he bowed his head and took his last breath. At that moment, the curtain in the Temple that separated the Holy Place (where the priests served) from the Holy of Holies (where God’s presence lived), split from top to bottom. Previously only the high priest had been allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, and he could only do that once a year. On that one day (the Day of Atonement), he would offer incense and sprinkle blood from a sacrifice to pay for all the sins the Israelites had committed the year before. But when Jesus died, suddenly it was possible for anyone to enter God’s presence at any time for forgiveness. The blood sacrifice for all sins had been fully paid! Simultaneously several cataclysmic events took place. Not only did the sky turn dark—a large earthquake shook the ground causing huge boulders to split apart and tombs to break open. The bodies of many holy people who had died came to life and walked around Jerusalem. When the Roman centurion and his men who were guarding Jesus saw all this, they were terrified and exclaimed, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” And they began to praise God. Later that afternoon, the Jewish religious leaders asked the soldiers to break the legs of the men on the crosses. They wanted to speed up the dying process so that they would not have to deal with dead bodies after sunset—which was when their Sabbath began. The soldiers broke the legs of the two criminals, but when they came to Jesus, they realized that he was already dead. One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear just to be sure. Blood mixed with water flowed out of the wound verifying his death! There was no need to break any of his bones.
Do you understand the physical and spiritual agony that Jesus went through on the cross? Can you comprehend how much he loves us to have endured all this?
He was willing to die for us—shouldn’t we be willing to live for him?