Summary: The old joke is Where were you when the lights went out?" This sermon uses the lights going out when Jesus was on the cross and leads the listener to examine... Where are you... in your relationship with Jesus?
In the Dark!
It was a hot night in the middle of summer in 1977. The Big Apple was abuzz with excitement and life of a mega city. Bars were filled; movies and theaters were in the middle of the story. Life went on like usual. But then it happened... or should I say, then it didn’t happen.
Total darkness engulfed the city. Lights went out; elevators stopped between floors, Televisions went black. Everything went black and silent.
For 24 hours..., the city of New York was in the grips of a massive
Phone lines were jammed... emergency medical services were crippled… people were in a panic.
During that time crime seized its window of opportunity.... stores and banks were robbed and many people were mugged, robbed, raped, and killed.
The next day, in a delayed edition, the front page of the New York Times ran this headline in large print... WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT?
For the months that was the topic of conversation in bars, restaurants, talk shows, and living rooms. And nine months later the question was answered with an exclamation mark in emergency rooms across the city.
That question, WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT? gripped my mind as I read Mark 15:33.
“At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour.”
The Jewish day began at 6 am. 6+6=12... so it was 12 p.m., noon, mid day and the world went black.., for three whole hours, the pagan people took it as a sign that the gods were angry and about to destroy the world.
They were running, screaming, wailing, and panicking.
This darkness is even recorded by one of the Roman historians, Phlegon, who wrote that, “the sun failed”.
Modern scientists would like to say it did not happen... but there is Phlegon.
They would like to say, “Eclipse” but it was a full moon.., impossible.
Why the darkness? 2 reasons.
1. Jesus was in agony; pain gripped and ripped his body. He convulsed in pain, he gasped for air in pain.
And there were the gawking masses.., staring and treating this like a freak show.
Jesus was exposed, naked, and ashamed.
God was in agony... to see His Only Begotten Son in anguish, to see the gawking masses.
He said, “Enough, sun.., go dark.” And the sun obeyed its Lord, the one who created it. Now, Jesus would die, but with some measure of dignity.
2. God was using an object lesson.
Notice the irony, the symbolism, the powerful message...
Jesus was born in the darkness.... he came into a world that was dark... it had no light.
But, Jesus is the light of the world. When he came He brought light. In the sky there was a small, almost un-noticeable star. It was missed by all but a few foreign kings who followed it because they understood.
And when He died… the light was in the world... there was light (day light) but when Jesus died the light of the world was gone and so, God took away the light of the world (sun).
The Dutch artist, Rembrandt, was so awestruck by the truth and tragedy of the cross that it moved him to paint two pictures of the crucifixion. He painted the cross, the savior, the criminals, the soldiers (gambling for Jesus clothes) and the crowd with faces twisted and contorted with anger as they called for his death.
In one corner was a soldier... spitting on Jesus.
In one picture, he painted... HIMSELF!!!!!!
He was making a great statement... I CRUCIFIED HIM WITH MY SIN!
So this brings me to ask you a question… or two...
1. Do you realize that YOU ARE IN THAT PICTURE... you crucified Him!!!
2. Where would you have been that day when the lights went out?
There were four groups there... the crowd... the soldiers... the disciples… and the faithful… which one would you have been in?
1. The Fickle Crowd
I would ask you to turn back in the bible just four chapters and five days... to Sunday... Palm Sunday...
Chapter 11 opens with what is known as the “Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem”
It was that day that Jesus was walking in from Bethany and was mobbed by the sick and diseased, and possessed. He had healed hundreds… the crowd pressed in, trying to get their healing.
Jesus had fought the crowd for over a mile.
He finally said, “I can’t! Go ahead of us and you’ll find a colt tied there, Bring it to me,”
The disciples did and Jesus rode on the colt while he continued to heal.
Some of the crowd remembered the Old Testament scripture that promised the Messiah would come riding on a colt; they began to shout “Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”