Death of Christ
yielding up His precious life, Christ was not upheld by triumphant joy.
His heart was rent with anguish and oppressed with gloom. But it was not
the fear or the pain of death that caused His suffering. It was the
crushing weight of the sin of the world, a sense of separation from His
Father's love. This was what broke the Saviour's heart, and brought His
death so soon.
Christ felt the woe that sinners will
feel when they awake to realize the burden of their guilt, to know that
they have forever separated themselves from the joy and peace of Heaven.
Angels beheld with amazement the agony of
despair borne by the Son of God. His anguish of mind was so intense that
the pain of the cross was hardly felt.
Nature itself was in sympathy with the
scene. The sun shone clearly until midday, when suddenly it seemed to be
blotted out. All about the cross was darkness as deep as the blackest
midnight. This supernatural darkness lasted fully three hours.
A nameless terror took possession of the
multitude. The cursing and reviling ceased. Men, women, and children
fell upon the earth in abject terror.
Lightnings occasionally flashed forth
from the cloud, and revealed the cross and the crucified Redeemer. All
thought that their time of retribution had come.
At the ninth hour the darkness lifted
from the people, but still wrapped the Saviour as with a mantle. The
lightnings seemed to be hurled at Him as He hung upon the cross. It was
then that He sent up the despairing cry:
"My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken
In the meantime the darkness had settled
over Jerusalem and the plains of Judea. As all eyes were turned in the
direction of the fated city, they saw the fierce lightnings of God's
wrath directed toward it.
Suddenly the gloom was lifted from the
cross, and in clear, trumpet like tones, that seemed to resound
throughout creation, Jesus cried:
"It is finished." John 19:30. "Father,
into Thy hands I commend My spirit." Luke 23:46.
A light encircled the cross, and the face
of the Saviour shone with a glory like the sun. He then bowed His head
upon His breast and died.
The multitude about the cross stood
paralyzed, and with bated breath gazed upon the Saviour. Again darkness
settled upon the earth, and a hoarse rumbling like heavy thunder was
heard. This was accompanied with a violent earthquake.
The people were shaken into heaps by the
earthquake. The wildest confusion and terror ensued. In the surrounding
mountains, rocks were rent asunder, and went crashing
down into the
plains below. Tombs were broken open, and many of the dead were cast
out. Creation seemed to be breaking into atoms. Priests, rulers,
soldiers, and people, mute with terror, were lying prostrate upon the
At the time of the death of Christ, some
of the priests were ministering in the temple at Jerusalem. They felt
the shock of the earthquake, and at the same moment the vail of the
temple, which separated the holy from the most holy place was rent in
twain from top to bottom by the same bloodless hand that wrote the words
of doom upon the walls of Belshazzar's palace. The most holy place of
the earthly sanctuary was no longer sacred. Never would the presence of
God again overshadow that mercy seat. Never would the acceptance or
displeasure of God be manifested by the light or shadow in the precious
stones in the breastplate of the high priest.
Henceforth the blood of the offerings in
the temple was of no value. The Lamb of God, in dying, had become the
sacrifice for the sins of the world.
When Christ died upon the cross of
Calvary, the new and living way was thrown open to Jew and Gentile
Angels rejoiced as the Saviour cried, "It
is finished!" The great plan of redemption was to be carried out.
Through a life of obedience, the sons of Adam might be exalted finally
to the presence of God.
Satan was defeated, and knew that his
kingdom was lost.