•  3 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Calvary shows us a wondrous sight—the death of the Son of God—a death quite of its own kind. Ours is the wages of our sin—the due reward of our deeds—the natural moral result of our condition and character. But Jesus was not in this state. He was "separate from sinners." No sin, no principle of death, was in Him. If death, therefore, touch Him, it must do so in a way altogether peculiar. And so it did. He was made "sin for us." He presented Himself to God as One who, though carrying life and title to life, was ready to surrender it for us, who carried death and the righteous sentence of it in ourselves. It was to God Jesus turned, offering Himself as for sin, or as sin. And the three hours of darkness was the expression of God's acceptance of this offer. For no darkness need there be at any other death. Death is but the issue of man departed from God, according to the early threatening. The sun may continue to shine then. Nature, in all its order, may hold on its way. Nothing beyond the ordinary course of an aliened and self-destroying creature goes on then. But now something new and strange was going on. One had presented Himself to God to die, though He carried in Himself all title to life, and was in no debtorship to death. And He did this that He might destroy him that had the power of death. Sin, in every other death, was dealing with the creature; but here God was dealing with sin. And God must take His place accordingly. If He accept the offer, He will see sin on the cross, and must withdraw Himself. And the darkness expresses this. It tells us of God's taking His place in relation to this object, and thus His acceptance of Christ in the sinner's place, as made sin for us.
What strong consolation is this! What solid ground under our feet is here! In the simplest form, God gave witness that He was dealing with sin there. The billows and waves of divine wrath flowed in to fill the place, instead of the kindly shinings of the divine presence. All retired but the soul of Jesus and the judgment of sin, the victim and the hand that bruised Him. The offer was accepted.
This is all comfort to poor sinners. This is the first great and solid standing under the feet of the consciously guilty one. He who offered Himself to the righteous God, as sin in the sinner's stead, had the offer here solemnly accepted, and was witnessed by this horrible darkness and desertion.
But there was more. There was the acceptance of the work, as well as of the offer. And this was next witnessed to us. For the moment the work was accomplished, its acceptance by God, or the victory of the Lamb of God, was felt in heaven, earth, and hell. As the life was rendered up, the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom, the rocks of the earth were rent, and the graves where the power of death held its prisoners were opened. Heaven gladly opens to let sinners in, and the enemy's hold is made to open to let them out. Willing or unwilling, all have to own the victory of the bruised Seed of the woman. The bands were loosed, prison doors forced, and the captives of darkness walked, in pledge of this victory, in the light of the holy city. And earth owned it also. Its rocks were rent at the same instant of the blood-shedding of this precious Lamb. For the earth confessed this great transaction at Calvary, as heaven delighted to own it, and hell was forced to own it. The work was accepted.
All this is further peace and comfort to the sinner. The ground is still firm under his feet. He leans the whole burden of his conscience now on the sureness of the accepted work, as before on the sureness of the accepted offer. And the resurrection publishes all.