Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44
When Jesus went to the cross there was a period of three hours which is not given much notice in sermons that are preached. Of course, there is actually no way we can know all that went on in that three hours, unless it is by reading the twenty second Psalm, and hear the heart cry of our Savior as He was rejected by His Father, forsaken by His Father.Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. Matt 27:45 (KJV)
And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. Mark 15:33 (KJV)
And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Luke 23:44 (KJV)
A few years ago I read a sermon by G. Campbell Morgan titled “THE DARKNESS OF GOLGOTHA” which really impressed me. Because of that message I developed this one using Brother Morgan’s main points, and quoting him often.
I. THE MEANING OF THE DARKNESS.
A. It was the hour of evil.
B. No matter how deep or dark the darkness the Light is always shining.
C. Satan wanted to extinguish the Light.
“From the very beginning of the shining of that Light, focused in history by the Incarnation, the one supreme purpose of the enemy was to….put it out. And in these three hours of darkness we are brought face to face with the time when all the force of evil was brouth to bear on the soul of the Son of God, and all the unutterable intent and purpose of evil wrapped Him about in darkness that is beyond our comprehension.” G. Campbell Morgan.
D. Darkness is a symbol of spiritual evil.
“The people which sat in darkness saw a great light:” (Matthew 4:16).
“But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.” (6:23). ASLO SEE Matthew 8:12 & 25:30.
E. Death and darkness express the ultimate in evil.II. THE PASSING OF THE DARKNESS.
A. The four sayings after the passing of the darkness;
1. The cry of forsakenness (27:46);
2. The cry of human limitation and experience (John 19:28). [I thirst].
3. The cry of spiritual accomplishment (John 19:30) [It is finished]
4. The cry of confidence (Luke 23:46).
“…He died, not of a broken heart, not of human brutality, not of murder by human hands; but by His own volition He yielded up the Ghost, and His spirit, commended to God passed to God. The death that saves was not that physical dissolution, but the infinite spiritual mystery of the three hours and the darkness, which being passed, He Himself did say, ‘It is finished'”. IBID
B. It seems that during the three hours of darkness the crowds were silent.
“Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Ps.46:10).
1. Not a word is spoken until His cry of forsakenness.
2. Not a word of mockery, insolence, or hate is heard.
C. After the darkness, it was people who loved Him who took Him down, prepared His body and laid Him in the garden tomb.
D. The foes of Jesus seemed to have withdrawn.
1. Satan seems to be nowhere around.
2. Christ triumphed over him on the cross.
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Col 2:13-15 (KJV)
III. THE TRANSACTION WITHIN THE DARKNESS.
A. We cannot begin to understand all that took place during the darkness.
1. Much of what has been said by men is mere theory.
2. Only what the Scriptures reveal can be received and concluded to be fact.
B. God cannot be expressed in finite or human terms.
“God must pity any man who thinks he understands the cross completely.” IBID.
C. Every sort of darkness that has been mentioned in Scripture as a symbol of evil was experienced by Jesus.
“That does not answer the inquiry as to what happened. I have no answer for that. Only this I know, that in that hour of darkness He passed into the place of the ultimate wrestling of evil in actual experience. There is light as I hear the final word, ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit’ (Luke 23:46), for the word is a word which declares that whatever the transaction was, it was accomplished; that whatever the dying indicated, it was done.” IBID.
D. “He saved others; Himself He cannot save” (Matthew 27:42).
1. Because He saves others; He cannot/could not save Himself.
2. Because He chose to go up to the cross; He could not come down. His heart was set on saving others.
E. WHY COULDN’T HE SAVE HIMSELF?
“Because He is God, and because God is love, and love is never satisfied with the destruction of a sinner, but with the saving of a sinner.” IBID.
“Someone may say to me, ‘Cannot God forgive out of pure love?’ I shall answer, ‘If He can, I cannot.’ If He could forgive me for the wrongs of which I am conscious, and that have left behind them their stain and pollution – If He could forgive my sins by simply saying, ‘Never mind them’, then I cannot so forgive myself. My conscience cries for a cleansing that is more than a sentiment of pity. Somehow, somewhere, in order that I may have forgiveness, there must be tragedy, something mightier than devilish sin.” IBID.
F. In the darkness He determined not to deliver Himself, rather He chose to deliver me.
1. Out of darkness has come a Light.
2. From the darkness had come the treasures of pardon, peace, power, and purity.
“I do not know what happened in the darkness, but this I know, that as I have come to the cross and received the suggestions of the material unveiling, I have found my heart, my spirit, my life brought into a realm of healing spices, to the consciousness of the forgiveness of sins. And there is no other gospel of forgiveness.” IBID.
G. In the darkness He chose not to save Himself; He chose to save the world.
NO MATTER WHAT MEN MAY SAY, SATAN WAS DEFEATED BY JESUS ON THE CROSS: THE RESURRECTION WAS CONFIRMATION OF THE VICTORY OF THE CROSS.