I doubt there is any way to create in our minds the drama of Golgotha’s hill. That old gnarly hill could not contain the tragedy of the hour. The events on that day would set off convulsive reactions of humanity surrounding the Cross and the very Earth itself. Step back and peer through the darkness at the three figures impaled on the crosses. All would endure incomprehensible physical suffering, but only One would take on the spiritual reality of bearing every sin for all mankind throughout the ages.
Darkness is the accurate expression of sin’s power and penalty. Sin clouds our vision and suffocates the very light in our soul. The Bible explains quite well that inner darkness as the consequence of sin will become outer darkness if the Light is not turned on in our soul.
When Jesus died on Golgotha’s hill, He was dressed in the cloud of the dark sins of us all. I cannot explain it, but the Light of the World was covered in the darkness of my sin and yours.
If you were to have surveyed the scene that day 2,000 years ago, the tone would have been one of fear and sadness. Inexpressible grief gripped the women who stood at the foot of the Cross. Heart-wrenching separation and loneliness hung like a veil over the middle Cross. The Prince of Peace died in the midst of cosmic war. For those who saw Him draw His last breath, the day became black as night both outwardly and inwardly.
But things are not always as they seem. Darkness would give way to light. Death would serve only to release life. Defeat was really victory. The end was really the beginning. Sadness would soon burst forth in glorious joy. Night would turn to day. Joy would come in the morning.
And it did! On the third day, Jesus got up and folded the head covering; He laid aside the death shroud and walked out of the tomb. The death rattle became the shout of triumph. Joy burst forth at the break of day. The Son did come up!
Ah, but most magnificent of all—because He lives, I will live also! Death will not be the end of the road. Eternity will not be outer darkness. On the contrary, it will be our glorious home where there is no more night. The dark night of the soul will give way to joy in the morning. And when we have been there 10,000 years, we will have only just begun to sing His glorious praise.
For people of faith, the dark hour of the Cross gives way to the brilliance of the resurrection. And while we will join together as people of the faith to express our joy on Easter morning, we recognize that we live every day in the light of His resurrection.
Happy Easter, dear family of God!
Anthony L. Jordan is executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.