Three Hours of Darkness

“In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord,

“I will make the sun go down at noon
    and darken the earth in broad daylight.
I will turn your religious festivals into mourning
    and all your singing into weeping.
I will make all of you wear sackcloth
    and shave your heads.
I will make that time like mourning for an only son
    and the end of it like a bitter day.

  • Amos 8:9-10

At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  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?”).

  • Mark 15:33-34

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

  • John 8:12

“Of course the sky is dark; people are killing the Light of the World.

“The universe grieves.  God said it would.  ‘At that time I will cause the sun to go down at noon and make the earth dark on a bright day … I will make it like a time of crying for the death of an only son, and its end like the end of an awful day’ (Amos 8:9-10).

“The sky weeps.  And a lamb bleats.  Remember the time of the scream?  ‘At about three o’clock Jesus cried out.’  Three o’clock in the afternoon, the hour of the temple sacrifice.  Less than a mile to the east a finely clothed priest leads a lamb to the slaughter, unaware that his work is futile.  Heaven is not looking at the lamb of man but at the ‘Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).”

  • Max Lucado, Next Door Savior

I hope you understand that the title of the post comes from the Scripture.  This post is not about my first summer in Europe and having to get adjusted to 3-4 hours of darkness at night, something that I had to get used to, growing up in the southern USA where dawn and dusk do not vary as much as they do in Europe.  But oh, did the darkness catch up for lost time in the winter.

No, Jesus is the Light of the World, and people were killing Him.  Of course, the prophecy by Amos had to be fulfilled, but when I read that statement by Max Lucado, it simply made sense.

When you look at Amos 8:9-10, Max Lucado left a bit out.  While the sackcloth might be obscure, it states that a religious festival would be turned into mourning.  As Lucado points out, Jesus cried out at the same moment that the sacrificial lamb was being slain in the temple.  It was Passover.

Ash Wednesday is this coming Wednesday, at the time of this posting.  There will be people going to get their ashes.  There will be Protestant churches and Volunteer Fire Departments setting up Fish Fry Fridays to accommodate their Catholic neighbors during Lent, and to make a lot of money.  I have heard that when the drive-thru person at a local fast food place recognizes you, they give you a fish sandwich instead of a burger on Friday.  (“But I’m not even Catholic!!)  There will be much ceremony that did not exist in the time of Jesus on earth.  People will be giving up something for Lent, usually something trivial, and mostly something that they would not miss.

But is anyone thinking about that first Good Friday, when they had the Light of the World, right there in their midst, and they were killing Him?

For those who celebrate Lent, or at least recognize the season, remember that God loved us so much that He gave us His Son, who died so that we might live, and He rose again to give us hope.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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