For three hours during the crucifixion, darkness came over all the land. What is the significance of this darkness?
Matthew 27:45-50 — Darkness at Noon
Hello and welcome to the Bite-Sized Gospel with Aneel Aranha. Today we will reflect on Matthew 27:45-50. Listen.
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
From noon until three in the afternoon, Scripture says darkness came over all the land. The darkness is not merely a physical phenomenon but symbolizes the weight of sin and the brokenness of humanity. It reminds us of the spiritual darkness that separated humanity from God's presence. At this moment, Jesus, the light of the world, took the darkness on our behalf, bearing the weight of our sins upon his shoulders.
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus cried, quoting Psalm 22:1. His cry reveals the depth of his identification with human suffering. At that moment, Jesus experiences the agony we have all felt being separated from the Father because of our sins. This substitutionary atonement demonstrates God's immense love for us, as Jesus willingly offers himself as the ultimate sacrifice to reconcile humanity with God.
Then Jesus says, "It is finished," (John 19:30) and dies. His final words, as recorded by John, carry profound significance. These words declare the completion of his redemptive work on the cross. Through his sacrificial death, Jesus accomplishes the ultimate victory over sin and offers the gift of salvation to all who believe in him. The veil in the temple is torn, symbolizing the opening of a new way, a direct access to God through Jesus Christ.
This momentous event reveals the power and depth of God's love and grace. It demonstrates that Jesus' death was not a defeat, as some say it is, but a triumphant act that brings hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation. It signifies the fulfillment of God's plan of redemption, as Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, takes away the sins of the world.
As we reflect on this passage, may we be drawn to the foot of the cross, recognizing that it is through Jesus' sacrifice that we find forgiveness, reconciliation, and eternal life. May we embrace the truth that in Christ's finished work, we have been offered a new way of life, a restored relationship with God, and the hope of eternal salvation. Let us live in the light of the cross, sharing the good news of Jesus' sacrifice and extending his love and grace to a world in need.
May the Spirit be with you.