Today is dubbed as “Black Friday.” According to Wikipedia the term originally began in Philadelphia to “describe the heavy and disruptive vehicle traffic that would occur the day after Thanksgiving.”
In more recent years “Black Friday” describes the busiest shopping day of the year. It’s a day when retailers open early and close late. It refers to businesses who’ve been operating “in the red”, now turning a profit and operating “in the black.”
Today, I’m thinking of the real “Black Friday.” The day Jesus died. He was crucified at 9 o’clock in the morning, and from 9 until noon, He hung in the light. But at noon, the land was covered in darkness. The Bible says, “Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour” (Lk. 23:44)
Some liberal scholars have suggested the darkness was the result of an eclipse or a sandstorm. The fact is, this was a God-sent darkness. It was a miracle. But why? What was the purpose of enshrouding the land in darkness?
(1) It signified the darkness of sin.
The Bible often uses darkness as a metaphor for ungodliness. Jesus said,”Men love darkness because their deeds are evil” (Jn 3:19). No greater evil was perpetrated by the human race than the murder of Jesus. Evil men conspired to kill him. Evil entered the heart of Judas to betray him. An evil Jewish Supreme court convicted Him. The evil Roman governor, Pilate, signed His death sentence. And evil soldiers nailed Him to the cross. Evil was in abundance on black Friday. No wonder God darkened the earth for 3 hours..
(2) It suggested the depth of God’s anger against sin.
God hates sin, injustice, and wickedness. His face is against those who do evil (I Pet 3:12). While God allowed sinful men to crucify Christ, the darkness was heaven’s statement regarding the seriousness of sin, and the darkness of their deeds.
(3) It symbolized the death of the Passover Lamb.
On the eve of the Passover this darkness surely evoked memories for the faithful Jews about the first Passover. The ninth plague in Egypt was three-day darkness, followed by the last plague, the death of the firstborn (Ex 10:22-11:9). Calvary’s darkness was God’s proclamation that His Firstborn Son, the Lamb of God was dying for the sins of mankind. It was also an announcement that judgment was coming and people had better be prepared.
On that Black Friday, like today, people were hurried and harried. They were busy. Jerusalem was a bustling place. A holiday was coming. Preparation must be made for the Passover. Little did they realize the significance of the darkness, or the death of a Jewish peasant. They couldn’t foresee the Light of Sunday.
As the daylight broke forth and the sun came shining across that tomb, the Son arose! “The Light of the World” was alive. Darkness was defeated. The Devil was crippled. And death was overcome.
It’s easy for us to become fearful of our “Fridays” of darkness. Confused. Terrified. The world is engulfed in the darkness of sin. Evil is acclaimed as enlightenment. Perversion is praised. Lust is glorified. Greed is called good. Pleasure is preferred over sacrifice. Truth is twisted. Justice is denied. And shame has been replaced by an unblushing, brazen, in-your-face affront to sobriety, morality, and godliness. And worse yet, too often we find ourselves either indifferent, accepting, or engaging in the darkness of the day.
But there is good news. The “Light” lives. Shines. And beckons us to a better day. He calls us out of darkness into His marvelous light. He has the power over darkness and the devil. We can receive redemption. Find forgiveness. Enjoy enlightenment. And see the light of our resurrection morning.
It’s “Black Friday.” But Sunday’s coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman