Lent Devotion for April 7
"Darkness Upon Calvary"
Reader: "The word of the Lord."
Response: "Thanks be to God.”
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 22:2
2 Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.
SCRIPTURE: Amos 8:9-10
9 “In that day,” says the Sovereign Lord,
“I will make the sun go down at noon
and darken the earth while it is still day.
10 I will turn your celebrations into times of mourning
and your singing into weeping.
You will wear funeral clothes
and shave your heads to show your sorrow—
as if your only son had died.
How very bitter that day will be!
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 27:45
45 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 46 At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
Reader: “The word of the Lord."
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
The circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus were remarkable in so many ways. With the most significant thing that ever happened in the history of the world, one would expect unusual phenomena to occur. There were all the legal abnormalities in Jesus’ arrest and trial, but perhaps one of the major signals to the unbelieving onlookers was the miraculous darkness in the middle of the day as God expressed great sorrow with the death of His Son. The Jewish priests and leaders would have been reminded of the plague of darkness as God brought the children of Israel out of bondage in the Exodus. This darkness was the last plague before God rendered the death of all the firstborn of the Egyptians. At Calvary, the darkness again came right before the death of God’s first-born of all creation (Col. 1:15) just like in the Exodus. God demonstrated His absolute power over nature in miraculous ways. With the atoning death of Christ during Passover, the shadow of the Exodus was fulfilled. In the book of Amos, the prophet was speaking of God bringing judgment on His people for their unbelief. Associated with the judgment was darkness at noon and earthquakes. In the case of the crucifixion, with the darkness and the earthquake, the unbelievers were confronted with “this man truly was the Son of God.” From the beginning of creation on, our God is in the business of separating darkness from light. That is always the direction of His working. “The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters….Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” The day moved from night to morning, from darkness to light. The Hebrew word for “evening” (ereb) is “chaos” and the word for “morning” is “order” (baqar). In the death of Christ, God brought order and restoration to all of creation.
MUSIC: “Psalm 130, Out of the Depths” from Rutter Requiem Cambridge Singers
Almighty God, who hast created men for Thy glory and hast in Thy Son Jesus Christ opened the way by which they may enter into Thy peace: open the eyes of all men that, being delivered from the bondage of human vanity and corruption, they may find their freedom in obedience to Thy laws and their brotherhood in the unity of Thy service through Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
–Prayer for the Lambeth Conference