This week’s passage begins with these words: “By this time it was about noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. The light from the sun was gone.” Three hours of complete and utter darkness in the middle of the day as all of nature witnessed the death of its Creator. As if God turned His back on the full weight of sin that His son bore. For the sun stopped shining. My heart skips a beat at the thought of what that kind of darkness must have felt like, the kind of fear it would produce. Matthew’s account of this event includes an earthquake – it must have felt like the world as they knew it was ending.
Luke and Matthew both also record the tearing from top to bottom of the curtain in the temple. This curtain separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple and protected the area where God’s presence dwelled. It separated God from man. Only the high priest was allowed to enter this area once a year to make atonement for the people, but at the point of Jesus’ death, this separation was completely torn in two. Because Jesus took the sin of the world on Himself when He was crucified and paid the price for all of our sins – past, present and future – we now have free access to God. Jesus’ death secured that for us.
The events of that day were so dramatic and miraculous that it even brought a Roman officer to faith in God, recognizing that the man he had just overseen the crucifixion of, was innocent. The crowd that had watched with morbid curiosity went home in deep sorrow. Only Jesus’ friends and His mother remained, unable to leave Him on the darkest day of history. But thank God the story doesn’t end here!
Jesus’ death secured a place for us in eternity if we choose to accept it. Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life there is. No one comes to God except through Him. We can never be good enough, no matter how hard we try, to gain salvation on our own. It’s only because of Jesus that we have hope.
Have you accepted the gift that Jesus is offering you? I hope you will spend some time thinking of that this week and if you haven’t, reach out to one of us on staff – we would love to talk to you about how to begin a new life with Jesus as your Savior. No one will ever love you as much as He does. If you already have a relationship with Jesus, I hope this passage will spur you on to a deep sense of gratitude this week. You are loved.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach