Summary: This is both the Good Friday and Easter Sunday Message. Friday was: The Day the Light Went Out and Sunday was: The Day the Light Returned
The night before the Israelites fled from Egypt the Angel of Death visited leaving the first born of the entire nation dead. It was the darkest day in the history of Egypt.
Friday, October 13, 1307 the soldiers of King Philip of France arrested and executed the leaders of the Knights Templar, it was the darkest day in the history of the Templars.
On November 9 & 10 1938, the brown shirts of the Nazi Party instigated what would become known as “The night of Broken Glass” it would signify the beginning of the holocaust that would eventually leave 6 million Jews dead. It was the darkest day in the history of the European Jews.
December 6th, 1941 the American city and naval base of Pearl Harbour was devastated by a surprise attack from Japan, a day described by President Franklin Roosevelt as “A Day that would live in Infamy.” It was the darkest day in the history of the United States.
Today we come together to pause and remember the darkest day in history of the Universe, today was the day that mankind took it upon themselves to kill God.
It Began When He Was Ignored by His Apostles
The events of that day began under the cover of night and finished when God plunged the world back into darkness when his Son took the sins of mankind upon himself.
For many the darkness was sudden and almost cataclysmic, perhaps there was even talk that this was the beginning of the end. I'm sure there were those who were able to connect the dots. The one called the son of God is humiliated, beaten and mocked and as they nail him to the cross the noon day sun disappears under a veil of darkness. Coincidence? I think not.
But the reality is that long before the sun disappeared at noon time darkness had already begun to descend into the final pages of the story of Jesus.
We are all familiar with the story, it had only been hours before that Jesus had gathered with his apostles to celebrate the Passover. Only hours since they had stopped and moved away from the busyness of life to pause and remember what God had done for their people when he delivered them from the slavery of Egypt. The Passover was a celebration, a time of joy and then Jesus dropped the bombshell.
It wasn’t a new subject, time and time again Jesus had told the twelve that he would have to die, but it had always seemed vague, a someday kind of thought. It had always been, “the time will come”, now it was “The time is now.” And to add insult to injury he told them that he would be betrayed by one of them and denied by another. And they response was classic, there was denial and there was anger. “Not me” they protested, “this can’t be happening, we won’t let it happen.”
Only a week before they had seen him ride into Jerusalem surrounded by his supporters, cheered by the crowds as he rode through the streets. That was what they wanted, to be a part of a victory parade, not a funeral procession. And with the meal finished and the news delivered he led them out of the upper room. We are told in Luke 22:39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. Historically we are told that there were no public gardens as we know them in the city of Jerusalem two thousand years ago. This wasn’t a park or a flower garden; this was an olive grove, a working garden and apparently a place frequented by Jesus and his disciples, perhaps a place of solitude away from the crowds and demands of his ministry. And it would explain how Judas knew where to find him.
And then he asks his closest friends to do two things. Not difficult things, not dangerous things. He simply asked them to watch and pray. He didn’t tell them to stand guard, he didn’t ask them to fend off the temple guards when they came for him he just asked them to watch and pray.
For three years they had been together, for three years he had poured his life into theirs, for three years they had listened to him teach, watched as he healed and witnessed his miracles. It had now come down to the end, and all he wanted them to do was to watch and pray while he prayed alone. And when he returned they were asleep. Asleep, all he had asked them to do was to watch and pray.
Have you ever been disappointed by your friends? Let down by someone you love? Then you know how Jesus felt as the darkness began to descend.