The Day the Sun Stopped Shining -By Brother Chuck
We knew 800 years in advance that
darkness would fall upon the whole earth at Jesus' crucifixion. It
had too! No one should've been surprised. This was prophecy fulfilled
(Amos 8:9-10 NIV). The murder and death of God's only son was of
course a very dark day. It only makes sense that God would make the sun stop shining and darken the whole earth. The darkness covering the
earth during Jesus' crucifixion was fitting because it symbolized the
gravity and darkness of that moment in history. This darkness serves
as a powerful reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for us and the
immense weight of our sins that He bore on that old rugged cross. It was as
though the sun had refused to shine. God made the sun stop shining at
noon. Noon was the time of day when the sun was straight up overhead and
shined the brightest. But not on this day. No, not today. Not on the
day of the death of God's only son. On this day, there would be
darkness. And it would last for three hours. There would be mourning
and there would be weeping. God's only son was dead.
The darkness that fell upon the whole earth illustrated the darkness and judgment that was taking place. The darkness symbolized the weight of sin and the separation between God and humanity that Jesus was experiencing on the cross. It was a powerful moment that demonstrated the gravity of Jesus' sacrifice and the extent to which God was willing to go to redeem humanity.
Darkness falling upon the whole earth was not all that happened when Jesus died. Luke also tells us that, "...the curtain (or veil) of the temple was torn in two" (Luke 23:45b NIV). The veil of the temple torn in two was a significant event. This tearing open of the temple veil symbolizes the access that believers now have to God through Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross. In the Old Testament, the veil separated the Holy of Holies, where God's presence dwelled, from the rest of the temple. Only the high priest could enter this sacred space and only once a year. However, when Jesus died, the veil was torn from top to bottom, signifying that the barrier between God and humanity had been removed. This act demonstrated that through Jesus, we can now have direct access to God, without the need for a high priest, or any human mediator.
Can you place yourself there at Calvary? Can you imagine what is happening? There hangs Jesus dying on the cross. The sun directly overhead is shining as brightly as ever when suddenly, about noon, Jesus cries out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." He's dead. Just like that, Jesus is dead. All of a sudden the sun stops shining. It just stopped shining. You look around and darkness has fallen upon the whole earth as far as you can see in every direction. At that same moment, the veil of the temple suddenly tore in two from top to bottom. "What is happening?" You must be thinking.
In Luke's account, he describes two events that occurred during Jesus' crucifixion; the sun stopped shining and the veil of the temple was torn in two. These two supernatural occurrences point to the significance of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. Matthew in his account also mentions that the sun stopped shining and the veil of the temple was torn in two. But he adds that there was also an earthquake and tombs opened up, which further emphasized the magnitude of Jesus' death and resurrection.
"The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus' resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people" (Matthew 27:51-53 NIV).
At noon, when Jesus had died, the sun stopped shining. The temple veil was torn in two from top to bottom. There was a great earthquake and the tombs of many holy people were opened. After Jesus' resurrection, Matthew said, these holy people (saints) came out of their tombs and appeared to many in the holy city of Jerusalem. These events are significant because they demonstrate the power and victory of Jesus over death. Graves splitting open and saints coming out of their tombs foreshadowed the future resurrection of believers when Jesus returns.
Can you imagine? What would you have thought if you were there? What a powerful moment that must have been for everyone present. "When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, "Surely this man was innocent" (Luke 23:47 NLT). The Roman officer glorified God because of the events that took place at Jesus' crucifixion. The Roman officers and all his soldiers witnessed the three hours of darkness, the tearing of the temple veil, the earthquake and the tombs opening up. These supernatural events were all signs of God's power and His presence at Calvary. These extraordinary occurrences made the Roman officer recognize that Jesus was an innocent man and He truly was the Son of God. The Roman officer's response shows that he understood the significance of what had happened and acknowledged the divine nature of Jesus. "Surely this man was innocent."
Because of these events, the Roman officer and his men recognized Christ' innocence and believed Him to be the Son of God so they did the only thing they could do, they worshiped God. Is that what you would have done? That's what I would have done. I would have fallen to my knees and worshiped God. I wonder how many other people there also fell down and worshiped God. Can you imagine the day the sun stopped shining?
These events serve as a powerful reminder of the immense love and redemption found in Jesus' sacrifice for our sins. It is a reminder for us to also recognize and glorify God for the miracles and signs He brings into our lives. It is through His sacrifice that we can have forgiveness of sins and eternal life. We are called to believe in Him, receive His Holy Spirit, and be clothed with His power to live a life that honors and glorifies God. No matter what challenges or trials we face in life, we can trust in the power of Jesus to bring life out of death, restoration out of brokenness, and victory out of defeat. Let us hold on to this truth and live with confidence, knowing that Jesus is alive and working in our lives.
Watch the Earthquake in This 2 1/2 Minute Video
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