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Day 17 Lenten Devtion: The Sign of Darkness

By Jonathan Hoeldtke in Woodstown Presbyterian Church almost 6 years ago | 787 views Link:

Day 17 of Lent

Title: The Sign of Darkness


33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[b]

35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died,[c] he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph,[d] and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.

Mark 15:33-41


When I was 21 years old I spent a summer in Sub-Saharan Africa.  It was there that I experienced my first sand storm.  I remember villagers scrambling for shelter as a massive brown cloud appeared on the horizon.  So, I followed everyone’s lead and made it to the safety of the mission house.  The image is still with me of sunny desert day quickly turning to black.

Imagine the day Jesus died on the cross.  Mark tells us that, “At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.”  It was a spiritual darkness for sure, with observers mocking and insulting a dying, innocent man.  But what Mark means plainly is that the sky turned dark for about 3 hours providing an appropriate backdrop for this spiritual drama.  Why?  Was it a sign?

Like many of the events of the crucifixion, the darkness that came over the land was a fulfillment of an ancient Hebrew prophecy.  The prophet Amos wrote,

“And on that day,” declares the Lord God,
    “I will make the sun go down at noon
    and darken the earth in broad daylight.            

                                                                Amos 8:9

The religious leaders were looking for a sign.  Now they got one.  It made no difference.  When darkness blinds you it doesn’t matter what kind of sign God gives to you.  In fact needing a sign may be a sign in itself that the darkness is affecting you.


What kind of sign do you require?  Are you still asking God to prove himself?  Do you still need some evidence in order to believe the gospel accounts of the crucifixion? Jesus once said to the religious leader Nicodemus, (who by the way wanted to meet Jesus in the darkness of night),               

“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. “ (John 3:19 ESV)

Ask yourself the question, “Do I see Jesus as the light?”  If not, it may be a sign that you are still sitting in darkness.  That may be a hard thing to hear.  The irony is that darkness blinds us to the darkness.  The good news is that at any moment the light will dawn on you and your whole world will change.  On that day, you won’t need a sign anymore.

Suggested Prayer

Pray for the darkness.  A lot of people pray.  Even people in darkness pray.  So, pray to God that you and others will see clearly the truth of Jesus and the meaning of his death.  You may not be in darkness but you are most definitely affected by it.  Pray for the light to shine in the dark places of your family, work, friends and community. 






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Pat Fredrick

Darkness does seem to be our lot. However, without time in the darkness..the light would not be so bright. I am so thankful for the time the Light of Christ shines so bightly and for those glimpses of understanding. Not to mention the people God has put into my life to help me recognize that His light is always surronding us. We just need to open our eyes and minds.

Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 12:34:12 +0000

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