In the early days of our blogging we wrote a column with that title. For two years we looked at the narrative of Jesus’ crucifixion to see the drastic change in people’s lives and the world’s history from six hours that Friday to very early Sunday morning.
Friday was a metaphor for betrayal. Denial. Cowardice. Hate. Suffering. Despair. Defeat. And death. But Sunday symbolized victory. Help. Hope. Healing. Love. Joy. And eternal life.
Today the religious world in general observes the Friday Jesus died. And then on Sunday will celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. While the Bible doesn’t tell us the exact day Jesus died and arose, it probably was close to this time of year. And while it has been our belief and practice to celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus every Sunday as the Bible authorizes, we realize that many are focusing on Easter Sunday as a special day.
With all of that in mind in and with the backdrop of our present distress, we want to revisit that theme.
That Friday on Calvary’s hill 2,000 years ago was a dark day. Literally. Dr. Luke records, “It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, because the sun was obscured; (Lk. 23:44-45). For three hours, from noon to 3pm, the land was engulfed in darkness. It was mysterious. Unexplainable. Terrifying. And confusing.
Imagine the conversations that may have occurred. “It’s a solar eclipse,” cried a Roman solider. “No,” said the Centurion. “The moon is full. There can’t be a solar eclipse when we have a full moon.”
“Maybe a storm is coming,” another soldier wondered. “Yes,” said another, “Maybe a dust storm.” But there was no storm. No dust in the air. Only darkness. Darkness when the day should have been the brightest.
The darkness was God sent. “It was as though all nature was sympathizing with the Creator as He suffered and died,” opined Warren Wiersbe. Darkness covered the land of Egypt prior to the first Passover for three days. (Ex 10:21). Appropriately, God sent the darkness for three hours while Christ, our Passover Lamb, was sacrificed.
Presently, there’s an irony in our current circumstances. While Sunday’s coming, most church buildings will be dark. Not only in American. But around the world. The lights out. The doors closed. The pews empty. Out of concern and love for the health and welfare our brethren, friends and the community at large, churches will not be assembling.
However, while the building may be dark, the light of our Lord will shine in our hearts. The Christians I know will be worshiping at home. Singing. Praying. Reflecting on the Word. And remembering Jesus. His life. His death. And His victorious resurrection.
It’s easy for us to become worried and fearful due to the darkness of this pandemic called COVID-19. People are sequestered in their homes. Many are unemployed. Our once thriving economy has made a sharp reversal. Money may be tight. Nerves frayed. Frustrations mounting. Questions abounding. We see the images on TV of sickness and death. We hear “there’s light at the end of the tunnel.” But, we wonder, is there? Really?
Yes. There. Is.
This Sunday we’re reminded that as the daylight broke forth and 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!
Sunday puts everything in the proper respective. It reminds us who we are. Why we’re here. And what life is really all about. It echo’s the refrain of the popular hymn, “This world is not my home I’m just a passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.”
We may not know what the future holds. But we know who holds the future. Our God is able to deliver us from this awful, deadly virus. But if in His providence, He does not, we know He has something better planned for us. Sunday says so. The resurrection of Jesus validates and verifies God’s promises. Because we believe and accept the risen Savior we can receive redemption. Find forgiveness. And experience inner peace that surpasses all understanding.
The resurrection shines through the gloom of darkness to enlighten our eyes. Fortify our faith. Sharpen our focus. And reinforce our hope.
Don’t despair over today’s darkness.
It’s just Friday. Sunday’s coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman