It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.God knew the fate of man before he ever created us. He knew what we were going to do and still he pursued us—He loves us that much! That God is all-knowing is not a new thought for us as Christians, but contemplating what the Father and the Son went through because of my sin is almost too much to handle. That God loves us with a love that considers us worthy of the death of His one and only Son—How do I wrap my head around that?
On the one hand, I am embarrassed that someone had to clean up my mess; on the other hand, I am in awe of someone loving me to that extent. It is almost hard to breathe when I sit in the presence of that kind of love.
I invite you to sit with me and soak in the love God has for you. Yes, it is for all humanity, but in this moment I invite you to reflect on His personal love for you through His sacrifice for you specifically.
Jesus said, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42, ESV).
Jesus was in agony in anticipation of bearing our sins in His own body, so much so that
“…his sweat became like big drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:43, ESV).Can you imagine? His love for you is that great!
God too was in anguish—
Darkness came over the land from 12pm – 3pm; this was not a lunar eclipse. Darkness represents lament (Amos 8:9-10).* In the ESV Study Bible, it notes that the darkness is expressive of God’s displeasure and judgment upon humanity for crucifying His Son.**
I cannot fathom the anguish the Father experienced in sentencing His only Son to death by crucifixion!
You are worth so much to God that He was willing to experience wrath, agony, and the feeling of separation from His Son and to allow His Son to experience an excruciatingly slow death for you (and me). I find it hard to soak in, but the account was written so that we might know the depth of His love for you and me.
Can you feel it? Do you know you are worthy, loved by the Father with an unfailing, never-ending love? Jesus died on the cross for you—ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate your heart with a deep knowing.
Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:Ephesians 3:19 (NIV)
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."
...and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.And finally—because He first loved us:
… walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:2, NIV).
* See note on Lk. 23:44-45, p. 2180, in the ESV Study Bible (Crossway, 2008).
** See note on Matt. 27:45, p. 2036 (Crossway, 2008).