By Abby Wilhelm
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.
From noon to three the brightest, hottest hours of the day, light was veiled. The sun did not stand still. It ceased. The light of the world stopped shining. All the hope in the land was darkened. Death approached like the familiar enemy that he was, lingering without striking.
Death always won. Taking whatever he wanted from whoever he wanted. Cherishing the terror he left and the loneliness of devastation inflicted by his hands. Destruction his creation. Creation his prey. Some fought his cruelty, others whimpered at his approach, some attempted to negotiate terms, others look him squarely in the eyes accepting permanent, impending separation. He cruelly laughed at them all! He knew he always won.
At that moment, Jesus was nailed to a splintered tree trunk, a torture device, His skin getting colder, blood leaking from His weakening body, His lungs fighting for each irregular breath. Death just waited with desire. Jesus didn’t fight, whimper, negotiate or accept, instead He called out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”
The final breath of God, the scream of a mother, and the screeching wale of defeat! Robbed! Death was robbed! His merciless blade still sheathed. In the darkness, with the veiled sun, as the rays ceased, even as the light of the world died, Death was defeated. Stripped of his prey. Christ embodied cunning.
A dirge-like harmony of grieving mother, defied Death and a chest-beating crowd arose in chorus with an overlay of the victory song of heaven taunting Death while prophesying of comfort to come.
Jesus’ final words of surrender were the beginning of Death’s first loss. In laying down His life, Jesus used death to defeat Death. In giving Himself to the Father, Jesus had won.
Let Us Pray
Gracious God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of all who suffer: Let the cry of those in misery and need come to you, that they may find your mercy present with them in all their afflictions; and give us, we pray, the strength to serve them for the sake of Him who suffered for us, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Abby Wilhelm is the administrative assistant to Ben Thomas & women's formation