The Miracles of Calvary…Darkness
And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. (Luke 23:44-46)
THE LITERAL RESURRECTION OF CHRIST FROM THE DEAD is the bedrock proof of Christianity. Our Bible includes the creation of the earth and the miracle of the creation and preservation of the Jewish nation. In the boneyard of ancient nations, the Bible has proven to be the most accurate and reliable source of information. Before archaeologists dig up the ruins of ancient civilizations, the Bible has named rulers and places long forgotten.
BEFORE THE EARTH WAS FORMED, God determined that His Son would be the sacrificial Lamb for the sins of the world. Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, (1Peter 1:20) And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8) At least ten times, the Bible refers to God’s plan of salvation before He ever made the earth. I decided not to include them all here.
MOSES REVEALED THAT GOD'S SPECIAL PROPHET would be sent, like him. The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; (Deuteronomy 18:15) The prophets and scholars of Israel began to watch for that special prophet who was to come. The entire Old Testament is much about the One who was to come. It speaks of Him directly (as above) and speaks much of Him in types and shadows.
THIS SPECIAL-SENT PROPHET WOULD BE RAISED FROM THE DEAD. When the Jewish leaders manipulated the Roman magistrate and Roman soldiers to crucify Jesus, they all thought they were getting rid of Him. Being a politician may make you powerful, but it doesn’t automatically make you smart. Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1Corinthians 2:8)
I commend to you the out-of-print paperback book: The Six Miracles of Calvary, by William R. Nicholson (January 8, 1822 – June 7, 1901). Copyrighted 1927 by Moody Bible Institute and first appeared in the Moody Bible Institute Monthly at the hands of James M. Gray, D.D., Editor in Chief.
This is one of the books I read every year. You may be able to find a used copy online. I like to carry it with me a week or two before Easter and use it as tool for witnessing. This year, I can’t find the book, so I’ll have to talk without it.
“DO YOU REMEMBER THE LAST ECLIPSE OF THE SUN WE HAD A FEW MONTHS AGO?As you know, an eclipse can’t be more than nine minutes. “Well, when Jesus was crucified, it turned dark for three hours.”
IF THERE'S TIME AND INTEREST, we discuss the coming out of the graves in Jerusalem of a great many dead people who show themselves alive to many living people. On that week, there were over a million Jews in Jerusalem for Passover, gathered from every part of the nation of Israel and from many foreign countries where they were scattered.
The darkness, the earthquake, the opening of the graves, the rending of the veil, the rising of the dead from the graveyard and the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. I LOVE to talk with people about these things!. There’s no better question than: “Do you think Jesus rose from the dead?”
(The first proof of Christ’s resurrection is that the 11 scared disciples who ran and hid, came out of hiding and died for Jesus because they believed He had been raised from the dead. They saw him, handled him, heard him, ate his fish, and watched Him ascend into heaven until a cloud received Him out of sight. They would not have been willing to die for a lie.)
THE CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST FROM THE DEAD are the centerpiece of human history. God displayed an array of testimony on those three days as an eternal and lasting testimony to every living soul who is willing to hear a message from Him.
Jesus had been on the cross for three hours beginning at 9:00 a.m. and at high noon, darkness fell upon Jesus on the cross and upon a million-people packed into the city of Jerusalem. This did not happen in a corner. “Over all the earth” or as Matthew states: “over all the land.” “No one can positively say that the darkness did not extend over the daylight half of the globe.”
But if the phenomenon was limited to Judea, it was even then sufficiently remarkable. Indeed, in that case, it had a concentration of force like that of the three days of darkness in Egypt, while there was yet light in Goshen. At any rate, the darkness extended over all the land.
IT WAS NOT AN ECLIPSE OF THE SUN. The longest eclipse of the sun can only last slightly over eight minutes, not even nine minutes. Besides that, it occurred at Passover which is always on the season of a full moon. During a full moon, an eclipse of the sun is impossible. The “sun was darkened.” There was a failure of its light. The occasion was not caused by an absence of the sun, which is the cause of our night time. It was darkness at noon time, a darkness in the presence of the sun. It was not caused by the passing of another heavenly body between the sun and the earth.
LIGHT IS THE ANTAGONIST, THE INVADER OF DARKNESS. Darkness does not invade light. And yet, darkness invaded the sun and overcame the brightness of the sun. The darkness of Calvary smothered the light of the noonday sun. “What a trembling conception of the almightiness of God!”
During the three hours of darkness, it was as God the Father had drawn a veil over the suffering of His Son on the cross to obscure Him from the mocking, rebellious eyes of His tormentors.
It would seem that His suffering in silence could be no longer endured. His suffering had grown more and more intense and we may assume that the darkness may have grown more and more dark, though it does not say. How dark was it? We do not know but it was not merely twilight. It was a frightening darkness and known to over a million people who saw it and no doubt discussed it in sacred, hushed tones.
THE ROMAN CENTURION "FEARED GREATLY" and he was a battle-hardened soldier. Some beat their breasts with intense awe at what they were seeing. One does not “fear greatly” and beat one’s breast in awe because a cloud passes over. It was three solid hours of intense darkness.
A MILLION PEOPLE WOULD GO HOME AND TELL THE STORY the rest of their lives and it would become solid folklore for generations to come. The ones who stayed home to tend the cattle and the farms, also experienced the darkness for three hours. They would all join hands in telling future generations what took place that day. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MARCH 16, 2018 – FRIDAY
A.M. Deuteronomy 28 P.M Mark 15:1-26
March 17, 2018 – SATURDAY
A.M. Deuteronomy 29-30 P.M. Mark 16
March 18, 2019 – SUNDAY
A.M. Deuteronomy 31-32 P.M. Luke 1:1-23
March 19, 2018 – MONDAY
A.M. Deuteronomy 33-34 P.M. Luke 1:24-56
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Memory Verse This Month:
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:36)
Song for Today:
Just As I Am (3:30) – (Samonte) (Mennonite Choir )
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