For some of us there have been some very dark days over the last year. Whether that has been as a result of losing a loved one, or the delay of a much needed operation, or the loss of regular patterns of life, it has been a dark year for many.
Today we consider the darkness that Jesus Christ willingly went through in order to bring salvation for many. He was falsely accused, whipped and beaten, rejected by those to whom He had come and suffered the pain and isolation of separation from His Father. He died a cruel and painful death upon the cross. This was truly the darkest day for Jesus and it revealed the darkness at the heart of humanity, who willingly put to death the Light of the world.
Jesus had spoken to His disciples about the suffering He would endure, but they didn’t get it. They all fled when He was arrested and put to death. For the disciples it seemed that all hope was gone. We can feel like that too at dark times in our lives. It certainly looked like Jesus had lost and that He wasn’t the Messiah who the disciples were expecting Him to be.
Jesus had said earlier in His ministry that “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). He Himself was that Seed, the One who would crush the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15) and through this death bring many others to glory. “..for the joy that was set before Him” of saving sinful people like us like us He “endured the cross, despising the shame…” (Heb 12:2). It didn’t seem that way at this point in time, but the cross meant that Satan was now a defeated enemy.
What does this mean for us in our lives today? Jesus has died and suffered the consequences of our sin. He, the sinless Lamb of God, has taken upon Himself the suffering that we deserve. All of us know that we are not perfect, that we have at times wounded other people with the words of our mouths and our thoughtless actions. Jesus’ death on the cross means that if we repent and ask God’s forgiveness, we will be heard and the new life of this Seed will be formed within us. We will no longer have to live in fear of being “found out”. We will instead have the assurance of Jesus’ love and forgiveness, His presence with us at all times, and be able to look forward to the new life of the world to come.
This was the darkest day, but praise God that this wasn’t the end of the story.