Summary: How the Lord used the darkness of Good Friday as a witness to our salvation.
March 24, 2005 Matthew 27:45
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land.
Tonight’s service is called a service of darkness. It is a somber reminder of what happened to Jesus. As the service progresses, the lights eventually are dimmed until it becomes almost completely dark. This darkness is supposed to symbolize the three hours of darkness that occurred at the death of Jesus Christ. As Jesus was arrested, he said to the chief priests, “this is your hour—when darkness reigns.” (Luke 22:53) The darkness that Jesus experienced was not just symbolic. It did not occur in the comfortable confines of a church, with the simple flick of a switch while seated on a padded cushion. The darkness that Jesus experienced was more than just a glorified light show. It’s a lot deeper than that. It involved nails, anger, torture, wood, whips, and hatred. Tonight we will look at -
The Ultimate Service of Darkness
Shortly after God created the heavens and the earth, He made the light. Then chapter 1, verse 4 of Genesis states, God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. Moses especially mentions the goodness of the light. Therefore, God distinguished it from the darkness - made it to be separate. Light and darkness are supposed to be two separate things. Three days later, God created the sun. In our world, the sun was then designated as the force of nature that would cause this separation of light and darkness to take place. Even at night, the sun would still have influence on the darkness, causing it’s light to shine through the reflection of the moon. Light is the presence of what IS, whereas darkness is simply the result of what IS NOT.
When Jesus entered the world, a different kind of Light was physically and more importantly spiritually introduced into our creation. The evangelist John especially makes mention of this aspect of Jesus. In John 1:9 he writes, “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” Then, in John 8:12 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” This was all predicted in Isaiah 60:2-3. It says, “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” This darkness is not speaking about a physical darkness, but a spiritual one. In a world that had been corrupted in the darkness of sin after the Fall of Adam and Eve, Jesus entered it without sin. He proclaimed a way to salvation different than submitting to the law of the Pharisees or even the Old Testament law. He proclaimed in no uncertain terms, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (Jn 11:25-26) Wherever Jesus walked and whatever Jesus said seemed to bring light into people’s lives - give them hope - help them see a different God - a God of mercy and forgiveness, hope and heaven. The way in which He carried Himeslf stood out from the behavior of all other men. His very essence was Light - not darkness.
In 2 Corinthians 6:14 Paul asked, “what fellowship can light have with darkness?” With this question, Paul was clearly saying that people enlightened with Jesus Christ are not meant to be one with the darkness. Yet tonight we see that this Son of God - the author of Life - the source of Light - would in the last hours of His humility have to spend it in darkness. Yet for three hours darkness covered the earth. Jesus was surrounded by and covered in this abnormal darkness.
What is the significance of this? Let’s find out. Consider other instances in Scriptures where a deep darkness fell on people.
✞ In Genesis 15:12-16 God had a message of darkness for Abram. Moses writes, “As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”