After Jesus had been nailed to the stake we see darkness descend over the earth for three hours. Some say that there was a solar eclipse at this time. However a solar eclipse lasts only minutes as the moon passes across the face of the sun. In this case twilight and darkness covered the land for three hours.
Clearly this was a sign to show who this was that was being put to death. Here was the great King of kings and Lord of lords dying for the sake of man. He was being put to death wrongfully for he had done only good and never sinned in his life. The sign was recognition of the great and grave gift he was making on our behalf.
In his final moment Jesus called out to the Father saying, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Verse 46) Had the Father forsaken Jesus? No he was with him always, but Jesus in his anguish must have felt he had been left alone.
There are times when we too feel all alone. There are times when we feel the Lord has left us. But he is with us at all times. He said as we ascended into heaven, “…lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) When we feel alone it is often we that have walked away from him, not the other way around. When we are in those places we need to take the advice of James saying in James 4:7-10,
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
8 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind.
9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection.
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.
If we draw near to God he will draw near to us. When we come to him he will rush towards us as the father of the prodigal son did to his broken and repentant son. When we are feeling separated from God it is often that we have strayed, so let us turn to God in repentance and come back into his presence.
At the end of this section in Matthew we see that Jesus finally cried out with a loud voice and then gave up his spirit. These words are telling too, for his life could not be taken from him. Life is taken and man because of sin receives death. Paul wrote that, “Wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) So man does not get the right to determine his death, his life is taken away because of sin. However Jesus had never sinned and so he gave up his life as it could not be taken from him. Jesus explained this himself saying, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father.” (John 10:17- 18)
There were many other things that took place at the death of Jesus, which will be discussed in the next few posts.