- Sheldon Clowdus
This post is part of a 13 day series, joining other Christian bloggers from around the world, reading together Frederick S. Leahy's classic, "The Cross He Bore".
Matthew 27:45 - Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.
Golgotha is most holy ground. As Frederick Leahy states, "the wisest thing to do is to remove one's shoes and bow in penitent, grateful silence."
We must not forget that something transpired, in these three hours, that made one of the Roman scoffers proclaim that this was indeed the Son of God. I wish I could force upon everyone to read Leahy's last chapter. There is not one poorly spent word.
The first striking thing on this day, to the observer, was darkness. Growing up a city boy, I always imagined darkness from the perspective of the city. Although dark, I could always see. There might be moon, stars, and certainly the glow of city lights.
But no, I suspect this was more like cave darkness. Total absence of light. Added to this was a horrible earthquake, and the very rocks on the ground were split in two. Take a moment to take this scene in. Imagine the horror! One moment we have the mother of Christ, crying at the foot of the cross, with soldiers hurling insults, and then....wham.....darkness....earthquake....the very rocks under your feet mysteriously splitting apart! All of creation was groaning.
The other mistake I previously had, as I imagined Golgotha, was to look no further than the physical torture of this man. Sure, I believed that he was God, but I was blind to all that was really happening here.
The vision of this very moment was what nearly killed my Christ in Gethsemane!
Here, in darkness, mercilessly hidden from man's view, was my Christ bearing the full brunt of God's power and wrath. Here my Christ descended to hell! Here my Christ, in Satan's last hopeless terror, bore all of hell's vehemence.
Here, prophesy after prophesy, from the Hebrew's sacred canon would be fulfilled.
Here at this Passover, was the ultimate sacrifice being made. Only this Passover...this plague of darkness...was for all mankind.
Imagine the joyous angels proclaiming Christ's birth, and see the contrast of the God-man, in darkness bearing God's wrath, and Satan's desperate fury.
How kind that God would make utter darkness in this moment. Seeing Christ on the cross is painful enough. Seeing Christ broken by his Father's wrath would surely obliterate me. Seeing Christ bear my sin, my pride, my contempt, my selfishness? Who could continue to exist?
For three hours this continued. Darkness! All of creation groaning, spitting, cracking, breaking! God's wrath pouring out! Satan furiously, and feverishly with terror running about!
And then....oh...my Savior....then...perhaps the most precious three words ever uttered...
I used to think this meant that Christ was about to die. No, no, my mistaken heart. IT, is finished! Good just conquered evil. The narrow path of my salvation was just laid clear. The coat of my righteousness was just fabricated.
Here, on the most horrid scene imaginable, my heavenly adoption was offered, through the most unimaginable, freely given, yet horribly wrought, gift eternity will ever see.
Here, my beloved reader, is most holy ground. Here, my beloved reader, is the most unspeakable gift.
Do you see it?
I pray that you will, if you haven't already, accept this most precious gift.
For me, this Easter will be unlike any other.
I am completely mute! I have no words!
Yes Frederick Leahy, you are right, penitent, grateful silence.