The ninth plague that God sent upon Egypt was a darkness which could be felt, (Exodus 10:21). It was such darkness that during its whole duration no one could move from their place for three whole days.
Darkness and the ‘night’ very often carry a sense of judgment in Scripture also it is highly symbolic of the heightened activity of ‘satanic powers’.
This is not to say that the coming of the ‘night’ does not also mean the end of the days labour and the promise of well deserved repose.
Of course the most notable instance of a prevailing and supernatural ‘darkness’ was that which occurred at the time of Christ’s crucifixion. It lasted for three whole hours.
The speculation regarding the cause and extent of this event has exercised theologians, scientists and skeptics for years. Needless to say that for many it all comes down to a person’s beliefs regarding Jesus Christ.
This great ‘darkness’ effectively shrouded Christ for a time and prevented the witnessing of this part of his ‘titanic’ struggle with sin and the enemy.
It also seems to signify for a brief moment, the hiding of the Father’s face though not His love.
As no human eye could penetrate that ‘worse than Egyptian darkness’, so no human understanding can penetrate and comprehend the struggle and suffering that occurred when the sinless ‘Son of Man’ combated sin and the powers of darkness to satisfy for the sin of man.
The believing soul can only humble themselves and remember that it was done for them and their salvation.
“Thy unknown Sufferings”
Someone said that the ‘sufferings of Christ’s soul were the soul of His sufferings. The ‘Greek’ church’s liturgy asks
“By Thy unknown sufferings, have mercy upon us, O Christ.”
The depths of suffering which Christ experienced in His last hours and culminating upon the Cross are an abyss to which we can never sound.
Jesus said of the disciples “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials,” Luke 22:28 According to Alexander McLaren, this saying would refer not to Christ’s first and final sufferings , because the disciples were not in attendance at these events, but rather to the sufferings Christ endured throughout His earthly ministry.
Christ began his ministry in suffering temptation by Satan and deprivation in the wilderness. He ended his ministry in suffering through the agonies of Gethsemane and the arrest and crucifixion.
However this saying of Jesus seems to refer to what Christ suffered day by day throughout his earthly life.
Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost but instead of welcome and gratitude He met with for the most part scorn and misunderstanding.
Even when the people most seemed to ‘adore’ Him they were imagining Christ as what they desired Him to be instead of who He was.
Even when His teachings were being admired and hung upon by the multitudes they were for the most part falling upon ‘stony ground’.
Christ as man, no doubt felt keenly the rejection of mankind deeply.
“Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3
Knowing the love of Christ for mankind as seen by the pain He suffered for our salvation, we can see a little of what the pain He suffered as a result of the misunderstanding, obduracy and hardness of heart he encountered throughout his earthly walk.
This is one aspect of Christ’s sufferings that the believer can to a small degree enter into; because if we are faithful to Christ and his truth, we to will suffer the same sort of treatment.
Lives in parallel!
While researching my family I followed what I thought was my great grandfather’s life. It turned out that I was following the wrong person. The difference came down to the ‘O’ in front of the name.
It is ironic that my grandfather dropped the ‘O’ off the family name, more irony still, my great, great grandfather’s name had no ‘O’ in front of it either.
This other man I researched had two other similarities to my great grandfather inasmuch as he was born in the same year and died in the same year.
It would be interesting to have been able to pursue the coincidences further.
It is as I have pointed out before a favourite theme of ‘science fiction’ is the consequences of interference with events of the past and ‘alternate reality’.
No doubt this long dead person had many of the same choices and opportunities laid before him during his life. Which choices did he make? How was his life different?
The overarching question proposed as we come to this time of year, though it should be far more often, is what are we doing with regards to this ‘Crucified’ man? It is our answer to this question that will dictate the path of our future lives.