After Judas had collected his jingling 30 pieces of silver, a period of darkness and pain descended on Jesus.
When he tried to pray in the garden with his closest friends, they all fell asleep, leaving him to struggle alone.
The darkness continued, one thing after another. With Judas leading the way, a mob of citizens and soldiers entered the garden to arrest Jesus. His disciples fled in terror. Jesus was dragged to jail where he was questioned and beaten, and endured a “crown” of thorns jammed onto his head. He was ridiculed and spat upon. A dark time indeed, with both physical and mental pain.
In the morning he had a chance to be released, but the crowd chose instead to release Barabbas. Just a few days earlier, the crowd had cried “Hosanna” as he rode a donkey into Jerusalem. A few days later, they screamed, “Crucify him!”
Exhausted from the all-night ordeal and weakened from the beatings, he carried his heavy cross through the city, hearing the jeers of the crowd as he stumbled toward Golgotha, carrying his own instrument of death. Dark times indeed.
At the hill, the soldiers pounded nails through his hands and feet, suspending him on the cross for a slow, tortuous death. His mother and two other female followers knelt below him, while one of his disciples cowered in the shadows. The others abandoned him, trembling behind closed doors.
Near mid-day, he breathed his last. Then the ground quaked, the sky turned dark, the rocks cracked, and the curtain to the holy of holies was torn in two.
The man who came to save the world spent his last days in darkness and pain, abandoned by his followers and friends.
Fortunately, we know how this story ends. Out of the darkness comes light. Out of the pain comes joy.
Consumed by the corona virus pandemic, the world is in the midst of dark times. We fear this invisible enemy that hunts us. We are lonely, missing our family and friends. Many suffer the pain of illness and loss.
We know how Jesus’ story ends, but we don’t yet know the end of our story. When will all this darkness and pain end? I can’t answer that question, but I can share some encouraging words and remind you of God’s promises.
He will give you shelter and rest (Ps. 91:1). He has plans to prosper you and give you hope (Jeremiah 29:11). He gives us peace in times of trouble and fear (John 14:27).
In this time of darkness, cling to His promises for shelter, hope and peace. In the middle of the darkness, look toward the light. Accept His hope and peace.