Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Darkness was Announcing the Dawning of a New Day

Monday 1-23-17, Modesto, California
Today we read Exod 6 – 8 and Luke 23
S = Scripture  O = Observation  A = Application  P = Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S. Luke 23:40-46  But the other criminal protested, "Don't you fear God even when you are dying? We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn't done anything wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom." And Jesus replied, "I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise." By this time it was noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o'clock. The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the thick veil hanging in the Temple was torn apart. Then Jesus shouted, "Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!"  And with those words he breathed his last. NLT

O. Jesus was crucified around 9 AM. He breathed His last breath at around 3 PM. He was conscious this entire time. The term excruciating literally means “out of crucifying”; crucifixion was an “excruciating” way to die because it was a very slow and painful means to death. But even in His agony, just before noon, Jesus welcomed a repentant, believing sinner into His Paradise. And moments after He did, the lights went out. For three long hours the sun was hidden. It was dark at noontime!

A. Days earlier Jesus had proclaimed, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  (John 8:12 NIV) Of course He was talking about spiritual darkness. For three hours it seems the powers of darkness were winning the battle. But sometime during that black darkness the huge curtain in the temple was suddenly ripped in two from the top to the bottom. Certainly, terrified Jewish priests ran out of the temple into the eerie noontime blackout in the streets. That darkness was announcing the dawning of a new day when the curtain of separation was torn open and repentant sinners, like the criminal on the cross, and like me, could enter the holy presence of the Creator God and be welcomed into His Paradise.

P. Oh Lord Jesus, What You suffered for me! Yet in Your darkest moments of agony, You reached out a bleeding, nail-pierced hand to welcome a repentant, believing sinner into Your glorious future. And with that gesture of deep love, You also welcomed me into Your Paradise just for the asking. Amen.


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