DayBreaks for 2/04/14 – Going Home in Deep Sorrow
Luke 23:44-49 (NLT) By this time it was noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 45 The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. 46 Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last. 47 When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” 48 And when all the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they went home in deep sorrow. 49 But Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.
For my quiet time, I’ve been using the gospel of Luke. Though it isn’t near Easter yet, I am at this point in the gospel. This has always intrigued me, not just because of the pathos of the crucifixion and the meaning it has, but because of a couple of statements in these verses.
First: how poignant is the statement The light from the sun was gone. It could have been said that the “Light from the Son was gone” and been equally true. What happened to cause this three- hour darkness? Some suggest it was an eclipse, but those don’t last for three hours. Cloud cover? Possibly – a very thick one. Was it that God had for those 3 hours turned away from the earth and His glory wasn’t there anymore? Was it symbolic of the sway that evil was having during those ghastly hours? I don’t know. But the point is that it was dark, as if all creation was mourning the suffering and death of its Creator. And God clearly was directly involved with the event and the disappearance of the sun. Nothing He does is by accident. For God it was a time of deep sorrow and grief – and black is the color of mourning. I suspect this may be why, but we shall have to ask some day to really understand.
The reactions of the Roman centurion and the people as they left were interesting. For the centurion, it led to some level of faith or at least belief. The reaction of others after the death of Christ was, appropriately, deep sorrow. Did they now realize what they’d done? Remember, these were the people who mere hours before were chanting “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
I can only surmise something here. My guess is that that not a single person among the crowd would have made the decision all on their own to kill Jesus, nor would they have pounded the nails into his hands or feet, nor mocked him. But people in crowds do bizarre things and it only takes one or two (in this case probably the “exalted” religious leaders and a few of their zealous adherents) to have incited them to such “Crucify him!” chants and to demand his death. Often, it is only in hindsight that we see the gravity of our actions and how wrong we were. Jesus’ words from the cross were more spot on than we can imagine: Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing. It appears that was precisely the case as the people, when they did realize what they had done, were filled with deep sorrow.
What do you do when the crowd presses hard on you to compromise your faith or simply to do something that your spirit tells you is a compromise that is not honorable? Stand strong so that you won’t have to go home in “deep sorrow”.
PRAYER: Jesus, we all played a role in your crucifixion. We often don’t know what we are doing or how we hurt you, but forgive us all the same! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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