Summary: Without darkness, there can be no light.
Can you think of your darkest moment in life, perhaps it was some time ago, perhaps it was just recent or maybe your darkest moment in life is happening to you right now. Whatever and whenever your darkest moment arises, be assured you will come through and see the light and that’s a promise that God has given to each of us, here’s why.
I want to go back to Good Friday, I want us to go back three days to when Jesus was crucified, I’m sure that most will agree with me, it must have been His darkest moment, it would have been His followers darkest moment and without doubt, his family’s darkest moment because when we hear from the narrative the most heart breaking story of a good man, betrayed by one of his own, someone close to him, someone who knew him and was supposed to love him.
We hear of Pontius Pilate washing his hands off him and handing him over to someone else, we hear the crowds who were only last Sunday singing and shouting whilst waving Palms, ‘Hosanna to the King’ and now they are laughing, jeering, sneering at him and shouting out for a cheat and conman Barabbas to be freed instead of the King, the Messiah.
We know how he is tried and sentenced to die on the cross, he is taken through the streets, after being flogged, this is no normal flogging, his skin is torn from his back which each thrash, ripping flesh and leaving wounds open, pouring blood and he is flailed again and again, small portions of skin flying into the air along with his screams and the cries of those around, seeing his torture.
A cross is strapped over his shoulders and he is forced to march, forced to carry this cross as he stumbles he receives help to carry this cross and then the nails are hammered into his hands and feet. Brutally hammered into position, these hands, are far from pierced hands they are skewered hands and feet. The nails don’t pierce, they destroy nerve endings and tissue as they go in and come out the other side and affix him to this cross. There’s no point in dressing up this story and making it less graphic for good taste and all ages, the truth is His crucifixion is one of the most barbaric, cruel and torturous ways in which to die.
His cross is raised, the crown of thorns which has been rammed on his head, causes his scalp to bleed and the irritant found in the foliage of his crown adds to his agony and then they spear his side. His humiliation does not end there as hanging from that cross surrounded by thieves and murderers are those who along with the soldiers mock him, all except one.
The stench in the air is beyond belief, if you’ve forgotten food in your fridge and come back to find it has gone rotten and the smell is repulsive, the stench is a mixture of sweat, faeces, urine and blood, and we call it Good Friday, he calls out ‘Father, why has thou forsaken me?’. Finally, he dies, he ‘gives up the ghost’ after calling out ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’ and the earth trembles, darkness falls during daylight hours and the Roman Centurion can be heard saying, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God.’
His Disciples have fled and denied him, his body upon that cross and all hell breaks out, the tremor breaking the ground, the temple has fallen just as he promised and it’s all over! His body is claimed and he is taken and placed in the tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea, he is wrapped in a shroud of linen and for everyone, the darkness has eclipsed their lives. This whole sorry episode is the darkest moment of their lives, the Disciples are locked in a room, trying to escape from the reality that their Lord and Messiah whom they denied and betrayed was no longer with them. His mother is heartbroken, and his followers are distraught, this is their darkest moment and with no way out. There is going to be no relief, how will they ever recover?
A stillness takes over from the previous night’s wailing and screaming, it is now calm, the earth has settled and it is time to absorb all that has taken place, it’s a lot to absorb, it’s a lot to accept and process.
On the third day, the women go to visit the tomb, they were going to further prepare his body, around his place of burial which is closed by a stone that has been placed in front of the tomb but when they arrive, they find the stone rolled away, the guards posted to watch over his body, gone! They have deserted their posts and abdicated their responsibilities and it is dawn, the early light of the morning has shone on the cruelty and suffering which Jesus endured and now they know something isn’t right, how can it be after all his tomb has been opened, the stone moved, did they see him? Well, they ran away after all.