The Six 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)
I know very little in this life except what I have learned standing on the shoulders of other men and women. It is profoundly true in selecting the title: The Six Miracles of Calvary, from a book written by William R. Nicholson (January 8, 1822 – June 7, 1901). It was 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 because it is full, timeless, and accurate.
I have waited several weeks with great anticipation to review the pertinent facts of The Six Miracles of Calvary. As time draws near, I carry the book with me in the car and as I shop and visit doctor’s offices for our annual medical check-ups, I ask everyone who will listen: “Have you read this book?” And before they can answer I launch into the miracle of the three hours of darkness and move on to the ripping of the 60’ veil that covered the Holy of Holies in the Jewish Temple.
(Today, as I visited my cancer surgeon for my annual checkup, I rushed into the book, counting that this may be his only chance of ever hearing such news as the three hours of darkness that covered Jerusalem and the ripping of the 60’ veil in the Temple. He was quiet. I hope he got it…and that it got him.)
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. These things are the subject of THE SIX MIRACLES OF CALVARY. They constitute the centerpiece of human history in condensed form. I never tire of reading what God did during those three days of human history. We will visit these six miracles in brief and try to carry forward some worthwhile memories. We will go slightly beyond Easter to make the visits.
The Calvary miracles were from Heaven above, from the earth, and from under the earth. God displayed an array of testimony on those three days that were meant to be an eternal and lasting testimony to every living soul who would hear and be open to an honest encounter with God’s testimony.
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!” The darkness that began the three hours, was the same darkness that concluded the three hours of darkness. 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
APRIL 13, 2017 – THURSDAY
A.M. 1Sam 13-14 P.M. Luke: 14:1-24
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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. (Act 2:36)
Song for Today: There is a Fountain (4:39) – (Gaither Group) (Vestal Goodman)
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