Just last year millions of people across half the globe were treated to the rare spectacle of a full or partial eclipse of the sun. The result was reported to be “a spectrum of responses ranging from fear to awe to religious emotion.”
In Nigeria some of the responses were as follows:
Prayers were offered in mosques in the city both before and during the eclipse in which Imams and their followers asked God for forgiveness.
In Ilorin, prayers were offered in mosques by Imams for God to avert any impending tragedy, believing initially that the solar eclipse was a bad omen. http://allafrica.com/stories/200603300268.html
These responses from around the world at this recent solar eclipse might help us to understand the terror that must have accompanied the darkness that swept across a Judean hillside nearly 2,000 years ago. This darkness lasted from noon till 3 pm our time (the hours when the sun was usually its brightest). Scriptures record of this event is found in Matthew 27:45-49,
Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. (46) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, lama sabachthani?”that is, God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (47) Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” (48) Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. (49) The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”
He had been rejected by His own people (John 1:11), but now He is rejected by His own Father! Imagine back as far as you can imagine (to the beginning). Now stretch your mind beyond its limit (I hope a rubber band doesn’t break in there!). Before the world began, in eternity past, forever and ever ago. All that exists is the Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and the Father and the Son are in perfect fellowship. As John says in John 1:1, “the Word was with God” which can be literally translated “the Word was face to face with God”! But now for the first time in all of eternity, the Father must turn His face away and show His back to His own Son! He did this because He could not bear to look on my and your sins!
It was no small thing for God to forgive the my and your sins! When our sins were placed on God’s eternally beloved Son, He had to turn His face away. When we consider this awesome truth, we’re forced to cry out along with Christ, “My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Him?” And the answer comes back from a thrice holy God: “Because of your sins I have forsaken My Son!”
He was Forsaken, that We might be Forgiven!
He was Rejected, that We might be Received!
He was Abandoned, that We might be Accepted!
He was Condemned, that We might have No Condemnation!
He was forsaken in order that God might say to us in the words of Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you or forsake you”! He was condemned so that God can tell us in the words of Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those which are in Christ Jesus”!