For hours, Christ hung upon the Cross at Golgotha. At one point, all became shadow. This, I think, was a darkness like that described in Exodus, a darkness that could be felt, a deep night that beclouded heart and soul. That darkness came as the ninth plague in the series of ten brought by God through Moses upon the empire of Egypt. The account recorded in Exodus says the Egyptians saw nothing, and no one moved from his place in the midst of the plague, which lasted three days.
There was, however, light that shined among the people of Israel. The Lord was with His people. He was there, mighty and ready to save.
I find it interesting that the plague of darkness was the one that directly preceded the climactic tenth plague — the death of the firstborn. What had been felt in those deep shadows would be nothing compared to the grief soon to descend upon the households of Pharaoh and his subjects. Their relief at the return of light would be crushed with mourning and the burial of the dead.
Lamb and Blood
To Israel, the Lord showed the way of escape. It would involve lamb and blood. The recipe for protection from death required death. Lambs were to be slain, and their blood brushed upon the doorposts and lintels of the Israelites’ homes. Safety and life would be granted to all who sought refuge behind the bloodied doorways.
The people understood. They followed the instructions; they bowed their heads and worshipped at that first Passover. They waited for God to move.
Death did come to the Egyptians. Their wails filled that night. The presence of Israel was now viewed as a horrible curse, and so God’s people were thrust from the land. They were alive and at last they were free, on their way to the Promised Land.
Take note of the correlation between those moments in Exodus to the scene at the Cross. Darkness arrived at Golgotha just before the death of the firstborn, the only begotten Son.
Here was the Lamb of God. His Blood flowed from the wounds delivered by the Roman scourge and from His pierced hands and feet.
At Calvary, Christ was where He said He would be. He told His followers that He would come to Jerusalem and die. He even revealed that He would die in this manner. His mission was now nearly complete. Lifted up from the earth, He hung there as the final and only fully effective Passover sacrifice.The darkness came, and it was a darkness like no other, a darkness that Jesus could feel and He said so. Click To Tweet
The darkness came, and it was a darkness like no other, a darkness that Jesus could feel and He said so. “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabacthani — My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?” These words defined an eclipse only He could taste and experience. It was the blackest of all blackouts. Every sense of eternal presence hidden from Him, the Son of righteousness now was made the sin offering for all sins. The iniquity of us all was upon Him. There and then, He was left alone.
What darkness that must have been. His Father, He could not see. The Spirit, He could not move to help Him. The Son was sin—all sin.
The Defeat of Death
Sin meant separation. His pain, how deep must it have been? His strong cries had to be unlike any ever uttered. Always alive and always one, the Godhead endured something of a brokenness. I cannot define it. Nor can I describe it. But this darkness stung and it had to have been realized throughout all Creation.
Jesus was born for this encounter with darkness. Only He could face that which represented the substance of all sin and transgression — past, present, and future. On the Cross, Jesus bore the justice due, paying the wages of sin once and for all.
From the Cross, Christ launched Himself into the realm of death. How did He do this? He did it by faith in the Word, His Word, the Word He embodied. With His statement, “It is finished,” He declared His work complete. Next, He spoke a sentence of absolute trust: “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”
Those hours of agony were for us, for our Passover to become a reality. His Blood stained the stones on that hill, a rock that looked like a skull. His Blood spoke for us. The veil between us and our holy God was torn, and the graves were opened.
Darkness, death, and devil were defeated.
The Light of the world won.
Now, we can see. Let us behold the Lamb and be free.