September 14, 2015
33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
Sometimes (o.k. more than sometimes), we need to get up to a higher altitude and look at the bigger picture unfolding in Scripture. Today is one of those days. Today’s text opens with these words.
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.
This is a divinely inspired echo of the the account of the Creation of the world.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Genesis 1:1-2
Remember the next words from the mouth of God? Yep. “Let there be Light!” This darkness described in today’s text is the darkness of chaos preceding the death and resurrection of the Light of the World.
It gets better. Today’s text also echoes the defining event in the life of the Hebrew people: The Exodus. Remember those ten plagues? I want us to remember plague #9 in particular. Here’s an account.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. 23 No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.
Now, recall plague #10: the death of the all the firstborn sons of Egypt. It was the blood of the passover lambs that saved the people of God from this unthinkable loss.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
Talk about “darkness that can be felt.” Need I point out the correspondence here? The first born and only Son of God, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, brought deliverance from sin and death for all who will believe. As the old hymn puts it, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
Behold this incredible tapestry of salvation. The Cross stands as the divine turning point from darkness to light and from death to life.
Sometimes (o.k. more than sometimes), we need to get up to a higher altitude and look at the bigger picture unfolding in Scripture. Do you see why today is one of those days?
And the practical application on a day like today? Awe. “Thank you for the Cross!” O.K., one more. We should point out in the midst of all of this cosmic drama we hear Jesus cry out these words:
And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
It turns out he wasn’t forsaken after all. So the next time you are feeling forsaken by God, get to a higher place of perspective and remember the bigger story. It’s in the lowest of low places that the greatest miracles often happen.
Now back to Awe!
SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD, FALL AFRESH ON ME.
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J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.