As I write it is the day after “Black Friday”, the day which has come to mean the “Bargain Day” of the year for consumers. The shopping centres are invaded by massive crowds, armed with their cash and plastic cards, hoping to acquire goods at ‘knock-down’ prices for Christmas presents, or for their own needs. However, it seems that the term “Black Friday” was first used by the retailers rather than the consumers. It was the day that retailers who had had a lean year were able to jump from ‘in the red’ to ‘in the black’ in one day, and end the lean year in profit!
However there was a day in history that, more than any other, could be called “black Friday”, namely the day when the Lord Jesus was crucified. Something happened on that day that has never happened before or since. Darkness covered the earth for three hours ( Matthew 27: 45-46; Mark 15: 33-34; Luke 22: 44:45)! I believe that these three hours are the most important three hours in the sufferings of the cross, and in the whole history of this world. Yes, we are given much information on what took place during the first three hours that Jesus spent on the cross during which He suffered the physical cruelty and mockery of man, driven forward by the malice of Satan, who wanted to see Him ‘cave in’ under the physical suffering. In this, Satan failed, so that Jesus was able to go forward into the far more important second period of three hours which He spent on the cross, a period of which we are told little in the Gospel accounts, but of which we can learn much from the rest of the Bible, Old testament, and New Testament.
There He suffered the wrath of God being poured out on Him until there was no wrath left, and he was able to utter the triumphant words, “It is finished”. It is vitally important for us the realise that Jesus did not die a victim, but a victor, His was the greatest victory ever in the whole history of the world. Because He suffered the Father’s wrath till it was finished, the prospect for man, as a sinner, who has sinned against God, is completely and irreversibly changed. We can now be gloriously RightWithGod in this life, and know that after death we will most surely go to heaven, and be with Christ for all eternity. All that is required of us is to come to Christ as sinners and trust Him to take away our sins, and we will most surely and certainly be saved.
But why the darkness? Why was the out-pouring of the Father’s wrath hidden from man? Firstly, it was probably something which would be too much for weak human nature to survive. But also, strangely, it was a ‘private’ time between God the Father and God the Son. There the Father poured out His wrath on His beloved Son for the sins of human beings until it was quite spent, and so salvation for sinners was purchased in complete and utter righteousness.The Father did not spare the Son because He was His Son ( Romans 8:32).
So this ‘black Friday’ did not come and go as the commercial ‘Black Friday’ did, but ended in glorious triumph and light, because Jesus was raised from the dead. Since then the glory of gospel light has bathed this world. The call to sinners is, ‘all things are now ready. Come and receive Christ, and be saved’.