Summary: A sermon for Good Friday.
"The Whole Earth Was Dark"
In Mark 15:33 we are told that "the whole earth was dark."
"From noon until three in the afternoon the whole earth was dark."
While Jesus hung on the Cross, for your sins, for my sins--"the whole earth was dark."
Way back in the very first verses in the Bible--in Genesis--way back in the very beginning we are told that "When God began to create the heavens and the earth--the earth was without shape or form..."
The whole earth was dark!!!
And then God said: "Let there be light."
And the light was "good."
And the entire creation was "good."
And then, at some later point in time, things went terribly, terribly wrong.
And from that point forward, the world became dark again, twisted, broken, hurt, lost--void.
In C.S. Lewis' Science Fiction Classic: "Out of the Silent Planet," a human being visits a planet which is inhabited by creatures who never experienced the "Fall of humankind."
This planet is a bright and beautiful place.
There is no sin; no death; no murder.
It is so unlike where the space traveler has come from.
When the man from earth is trying to describe to the creatures where he is from, they finally get it.
"You are 'Out of the Silent Planet,'" they say.
"We remember that place. We saw that great planet so very long ago.
It was the brightest of all planets that God created.
It was beautiful; it was magnificent.
And then it went dark.
And we haven't seen it since.
What happened? What went wrong?"
In Romans Chapter 5 we are told that "sin entered the world through one person [Adam], and death came through sin."
But now, the "righteous requirements necessary for life are met for everyone through the righteous act of one person [Jesus Christ]...
...at the very right moment, Christ died for ungodly people...
...God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us."
Into the Silent and Dark Planet--Light has come.
In the beginning of John's Gospel we are told that Jesus came into the world as "the light."
And "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn't extinguish the light."
"The light was in the world and the world came into being through the light, but the world didn't recognize the light."
"But those who did welcome him and those who believed in his name, he authorized to become God's children"--children of the Light.
As Jesus hung on that Cross--all the powers of darkness were working against the Light and Love of God.
He was crucified as an "outlaw."
People walking by insulted Him and shook their heads in disgust.
The chief priests made fun of Him.
"The whole earth was dark."
Except, except for the "Light of the world" Who hung on the Cross.
And try and try as it could, the darkness couldn't put out the light.
Finally, "Jesus let out a loud cry and died."
And, "The curtain in the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom."
In His death, Jesus paid for our sins as our High Priest.
He tore down the curtain that separated humanity from God.
And now, by His death, we--lost, broken, frightened sinners are free to accept His free offer of reconciliation and atonement with God.
We are told that "When the centurion"--one of the men who fastened Jesus' body to the Cross; who pounded nails through His hands and feet-- "stood facing Jesus," and when he "saw how he died, he said 'This man was certainly God's Son."
He was the first person to believe in Christ, after Christ died.
He was there.
He had helped to try and extinguish the Light.
He had watched as Jesus promised a place in paradise to one of the outlaws on another cross.
He had watched as Jesus prayed "Father forgive those [who are killing me], for they don't know what they are doing."
He had watched as Jesus made sure His mother would be taken care of after He was gone.
He had watched as the whole earth went dark--and yet the Light on the Cross never went out.
Evil could not extinguish the Light of God.
The darkness could not overcome it.
On this Good Friday, as we too stand--with Jesus' blood on our hands--facing the Cross, will we join with the Roman centurion, who 2,000 years ago exclaimed: "This man was certainly God's Son"?