Matthew 27:45-46. “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
From noon until three, the entire land was covered in darkness. I would love to know why that supernatural darkness covered the land. Was it to protect Jesus from the insolent eyes of the watchers? Was it to strike fear into the hearts of those who mocked Him?
History records no eclipse of the sun. Calendars tell us that the moon was full. It is only when the moon is new that there can be a full solar eclipse.
Maybe it was only in the complete darkness that Jesus could commune with the Father as he suffered, tasting the horrible cup of sin until every drop was drained. Finally, at the ninth hour (3 p.m.) Jesus raised His voice in the most piteous cry ever: “My God! My God! Why hast Thou forsaken Me!”
This, I believe, is the moment He dreaded the most as he struggled in prayer in Gethsemane. Jesus had become sin for us. He knew no sin, yet He had actually become sin. As the ugly weight of that settled on Him, the holy, holy, holy Lord God of Hosts could not look on His beloved Son. He had to turn His face away, and at that moment Jesus’ suffering was more intense than any of us can even begin to understand.
It is only when we understand the blackness of Jesus burden when He was forsaken by the Father that we can understand the symbolism of the black darkness that settled over the land. At that moment, Jesus was alone. Truly, completely, deeply alone. There was nothing to ease His suffering, nothing to deaden the pain. His power did not protect Him from the full weight of sin; it did make Him able to bear that which weighed on His soul, the feeling of the horror of sin. And He cried out in despair, knowing that the Father could not spare Him, could not protect Him, could not even look at Him. He WAS sin.
Do we ever, ever, think about the worst of Jesus’ suffering on that day? We know His physical pain was immense, but do we think about what it was for the sinless Son of God to become sin? To become the black, black curse of death and torment, to drink the cup of the poison of sin to the bitter end?
I will tell you this: Studying these passages, preparing to write, and then doing the actual writing has created in my heart a sorrow greater than I have ever felt before; it has also created a gratitude and a sense of peace and joy beyond what I have ever before understood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!