Matthew 27:27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the governor’s residence and gathered the whole cohort around him. 27:28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe around him, 27:29 and after braiding a crown of thorns, they put it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand, and kneeling down before him, they mocked him: “Hail, king of the Jews!” 27:30 They spat on him and took the staff and struck him repeatedly on the head. 27:31 When they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
Matthew 27:45 “Now from noon until three, darkness came over all the land. 27:46 At about three o’clock Jesus shouted with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 27:48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. 27:49 But the rest said, “Leave him alone! Let’s see if Elijah will come to save him.” 27:50 Then Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and gave up his spirit.
After Jesus has been wrongly accused, scourged and beaten so that He is almost unrecognizable, the guards then took Him to the Preatorum and mocked Him with about 600 of their buddies. Can you taste the atmosphere of that moment? They stripped Him of His clothing, dressed Him in their version of a royal robe. They twisted thorn branches into a crown and shoved it into the flesh of His head. They then topped off the ensemble with a staff as a royal diadem… and then the real fun began. They then danced around Him, hailing Him as king, bowing to Him in mocking laughter. They were drunk off the power and vile vengeance of victimizing this already beaten and bloodied man. But they were not done. They then hurled obscenities at Him, spat on Him and then they took the royal diadem and beat Him over the head with it, over and over again… Can you picture this scene? Can you see their teeth clenched, their muscles flexed? Their sweat dripping from their brows from being all hopped up on wrath and wickedness? In this room the air is pregnant with testosterone gone wrong. Mocking, vulgar words, obscenities and the vengeful raping of dignity became a sport. Believe me, this kind of rape takes a long time… and it was not over quickly for our Lord. He kneeled in that dark room surrounded by dark hearts until they were bored with Him.
At 9am these soldiers marched Jesus up a rocky hill and then nailed Him to a cross. He was put up on display for the entire city to mock and gawk. From 9am until noon, Jesus said few words, but all of them – every one of them, were not in regard to Himself, His suffering or His pain. They were words for those in the crowd. For those that tortured and beat Him, for His followers and for all of mankind. All of us sinners, thieves and soldiers.
He stated first: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” Luke 23:34. He stated second: “Today, you will be with me in Paradise” Luke 23:43 The He stated third: “Woman, look here is your son” and then “Look here, is your mother”.
And as the clock ticked slowly by on this Good Friday, and struck high noon, suddenly… “darkness fell over the land.” This darkness was not a natural event. This was not a slow-moving eclipse that fades the light to darkness. This was the God and Creator of the universe who spoke, “Let there be light”, instantly, and without warning, turning the lights off and hiding the sun! This darkness was deep… void of stars twinkling in the sky. This was purposeful darkness, distinct and blinding darkness. No longer could the crowd see Jesus or even one another. This was the kind of darkness that brought terror.
…and the crowd that berated Him just moments ago, those that cursed and mocked Him, those that had violently beat Him… became silent. Yes silent, until Jesus screamed ”My God, My God, why did you forsake me!”
From noon until 3pm Jesus takes on the wrath of God… and all of the sin of all human kind. He bears in the darkness every last vile, perverse act; every little white lie, every ritualistic wrong, every sexual sin that has ever been known by man or will ever be known to man. He allows Himself to be polluted and defiled in ways that we can’t even imagine. Every last sin of mankind attacked Jesus with more vengeance than any one those soldiers could have ever dished out. Jesus hangs in darkness separated from God… thirsty and left for dead.
I don’t know when the sun came back out that day. What I do know is Jesus spoke a few last words. “I am thirsty” and ”It is finished”. He then bowed His head “and gave up His Spirit” (John 19:28-30).
Darkness is a funny thing. It’s description is the absolute absence of light. We have all been in darkness, havent we? We have all executed dirty little deeds in the dark. Even some of us have been ripped of innocence and defiled in the dark. But no matter what we have done, nor what has been done to us, the truth is, we each could not stand in the presence of God and say “I’m totally innocent, you can’t hold one thing against me”. We have all fallen short. Each one of us have been rebellious, prideful, arrogant and have broken the laws of the Ten Commandments in some form or another. And honestly, none of us can live up to law. None of us could keep even one of those commandments for even one day …and God knew it. So He made a way. He had Jesus live up to law instead.
Jesus chose to walk in to the darkness that day, and satisfy the wrath of God that should have come full force to each one of us. Jesus chose to stand in our place. He chose the defilement, the wounds, the mocking and misery.
That day of darkness, that Good Friday, He carried our intended mean and wrongful actions towards one another. He bore the things we are ashamed of. He was wounded over and over again, so that we could experience peace.
That is what happened in the darkness on that Good Friday… it is why we love Him so dearly. It is why we write songs about Him. It’s why we gather together and talk about Him.
He walked in to the death of darkness that Good Friday - but He didn’t stay on that cross. He defeated sin, death, the devil ….
…so look out world, ’cause Sunday is’a comin!
–References from the NET bible Environment.