At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. “Wait!” he said. “Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!”
Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!”
Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph ), and Salome. They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee. Many other women who had come with him to Jerusalem were also there.
Darkness, abandonment, watching from a distance all symbols of a journey only He could take. Who abandoned Him? His followers and those who cared for Him allowed fear to remove them from Him. Watching from a distance implies fear in operation. Many times He said fear not and still they feared. Who sent the darkness and tore the curtain in the temple? The light was being taken from them; they were rejecting the light. But upon His death a promise was kept. He said the curtain would be torn. The curtain that kept mankind from entering a place of communion with his Creator. That barrier that symbolized our separation from God was removed. Only those who followed God’s order could enter and entered for the sins of all. Now Christ had completed the task given Him; He entered that place for the last time with the offering of Himself for our sins.
A barrier keeps out but also keeps in. God’s Spirit has left the building. His Spirit is given to us and knows no boundaries. Jesus said there would come a time when we would not need buildings to worship the Creator, we would worship in spirit and truth. He provided that opportunity. He said the Holy Spirit would come and dwell with us giving us understanding. As with any gift, the recipient is required to receive. Then it becomes theirs. Those who do not receive, reject and cannot take ownership which includes the understanding that comes with the gift.
Our take away –have we received? Or rejected? Darkness, abandonment, fear are all products of rejection. Acceptance brings understanding, light, reunion with our Creator. What is our decision? God’s Word is life – alive, active – making changes. When we receive the Word as our own, accept the gift Christ offers, God’s Word becomes alive and active within us. Again, what is our decision?