45 From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”-which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” 48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” 50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. Matt 27:45-53 (NIV )
Black Friday has become a HUGE event in America. Everyone vies to have the best sale and to bring in the most shoppers. But the original “black Friday” had nothing to do with sales but everything to do with salvation!
On the Friday that Christ was crucified, denoted in our calendars as Good Friday, darkness filled the land. As the Savior of the World hung upon the cross, suffering thirst, unimaginable pain, anguish, separation from His Father… it appeared that darkness had won. The Miracle Worker wrought no miracles from that cross. Some expected Him to miraculously hurl himself down. Call down fire from heaven, call on Elijah the great prophet to come to His aid. But He did nothing. He just bore it. Doubtless every heroic act of deliverance would have appeared at the slightest whisper of a command. But He did not call out. He did not activate the resurrection power that was resident within Him. No. Instead He used His miraculous power to endure and forfeit His deliverance and affirmation.
But as He cried out one final time, as He released that last breath, then the miraculous power of God was released. Not on His behalf. But on OURS! As the Light of the World appeared to be extinguished, as His spirit departed His fleshly, earthy temple… great and marvelous things occurred in the temple in Jerusalem. At that moment, the curtain of the temple was torn from top to bottom. The curtain that separated man from the Most Holy place. The curtain that signified the separation of sinful man from an altogether righteous God, was ripped from top to bottom. This was no work of man. This was miraculous work of God!
Then the Earth, His creation, recognized the monumental earth-shattering truth. Messiah had come. But rather than take His rightful reign, He surrendered to death. An unbelievable earthquake hit as the ground violently acknowledged the import of His death.
In that moment, Christ was not raised from the dead. Not yet- for it had been foretold that He would not for three days. But the truth was immediately revealed in man- the ones He came to save. Then many holy people were raised to life. Their tombs rent open as a foreshadowing, a fore-telling, a promise of that which was to come! Messiah had breathed His last. But it was far from over.
Yes, we remember Black Friday, the day of darkness. But now we remember it as Good Friday. The day that Good overcame evil. The day that a pure, acceptable sacrifice was made for our sins. Most of us look past this moment to the next monumental moment, because in His resurrection, our hope is secured. But as we remember this day- the day He died- we must remember the meaning. Just as all of creation responded, we must respond! The price was paid! A way was made! The holy people were raised to new life in Him!
Thank you, Jesus, for your unimaginable sacrifice, the wrenching agony of the prevailing power of your love extended to man! Thank you that you bore it in darkness, that we may come to the light. Thank you for enduring that we might have hope! Help us to live this truth vibrantly in a world encased in darkness. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!
Happy Good Friday and a blessed Resurrection Day!
- Jesus is the Way
- When Life Leaves You Hollow