Three Dark Hours

By the time the darkness had descended upon the land Jesus had been hanging on the cross for three hours.

Suffering intense agony.

Speaking words of forgiveness.

Listening to the cry of the thief on the cross.

Recognizing his mother.

Entrusting Mary to John.

Roman soldiers were watching him suffer, mocking him, dividing his clothes, gambling for his outer garment.

The chief priests were angrily criticizing Pontius Pilate’s inscription on the Cross “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Humanity passing by, a wicked parade of sarcasm, ridicule, challenge, and curse.

Then suddenly at noontime a somber silence descends as darkness instantly falls upon the land – leaving the hours between noontime and three o’clock in the afternoon a blank page in the story.  (Luke 23:44-49)

The darkness at the cross speaks to …

The Darkness in Our Hearts. Where have you encountered the darkest places in life? What are the dark places….In your home,   In your habits,   In your thoughts…

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. ~John 3:19-20

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. ~Ephesians 5:11-14

 The Battle Against Darkness. We are incapable of winning the battle against darkness on our own. We have an enemy we are unable to defeat on our own. We have a hope in heaven we are unable to attain on our own.

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. ~1 John 3:8

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. ~Colossians 2:15

The Price Paid to Dispel Darkness. 

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ~2 Corinthians 5:21

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. ~Isaiah 53:5

The glory of the resurrection story must be understood in the pain and darkness of the cross. Only in the Cross do we find our identification … the acceptance of the loss of answers … to be abandoned in the mystery of the cross. If we ever wonder why or why not, we look to the cross to know that even God’s son – innocent for the guilty – cannot be fully explained.

“God must pity any man who thinks he understands this cross completely. God have mercy on any child of God if the day comes in which he has not to sing, “Love so amazing, so divine. … in those three hours He could not save Himself. That was because His heart was set upon saving others.” ~G. Campbell Morgan

If this were the end of the story, it would simply be another tragic loss of life. Next week we celebrate the good part of the Good News. But this week we contemplate how much it cost God to defeat sin and death.