“They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha . . . And they crucified him. . . There was darkness over the whole land . . . And the earth shook, and rocks were split . . .” (Mark 15:22, 24, 33; Matt. 27:51)
In biblical times, natural phenomenon were understood as part of God’s activity in the world. Earthquakes, for example, were associated with God’s power and wrath (Exod. 19:18; Job 9:5–6; Ps. 18:7). Even darkness held meaning. Because God is the author of light and life, darkness was associated with the realm of the dead (Job 10:21–22, 38:17; Ps. 107:10, 14). Consequently, concerning the events surrounding King Jesus’s crucifixion, the darkness and earthquake would have felt to the Jews of that day like the end of the world had come.
The Beginning of the End
The darkest day on earth surely must have seemed a victory to our vile enemy Satan, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Perhaps he had forgotten God’s pronouncement of his demise so long ago in that perfect garden paradise, but God did not (Gen. 3:15).
“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:15 NIV
In Colossians 2:15, the “powers and authorities” represent demonic powers (see 1 John 3:8 and Heb. 2:14). In biblical times, when a king returned home in victory, he would parade his enemy captives through the streets, stripped naked, putting them to further shame (Isa. 20:4). The Greek word translated “disarmed” in Colossians 2:15 includes the idea of “stripped” or “taking off.” Therefore, when Jesus triumphed over sin and death on the cross, not only were the demonic forces relieved of their weapons, but they were completely stripped of their power and position.
What difference does it make that the demonic forces have been “disarmed”?
What difference does it make to you?
It is Finished
There are perhaps no sweeter words ever uttered on this earth than those exhaled in Jesus’s final breath. It is finished. On the cross, Jesus fulfilled His mission to give His life as a sacrifice for the sin of the world. To restore God’s relationship to Adam’s race—to everyone who will embrace His mercy.
A Sabbath Rest
In Week One of this study, we learned that God breathed the breath of life into Adam on the cusp of the first Sabbath day (Genesis 2:7). This means that when God blessed the first Sabbath day, He chose to spend it with us! This has been God’s heart from the beginning: relationship.
When we consider that Jesus was crucified on the cusp of the Sabbath, the significance of Genesis 2 comes further into focus. Just as when God breathed life into mankind at the dawn of creation, and followed it with the blessing of entering into the first Sabbath rest in His presence, God paved the way for eternal rest—eternal life!—by opening heaven’s gates on the cusp of the most historic Sabbath day.
Whereas God’s breath is first poured in for man’s physical life, His last breath is poured out for man’s eternal soul. By His blood, Jesus has conquered sin and the grave. This is why He could turn to the repentant man crucified next to him and confidently declare, Today, you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)
Do you have that blessed assurance?
Adapted from Week Six of my new Bible study, LEGION: Rediscovering the God Who Rescues Me. Visit the LEGION book page to download a FREE SAMPLE, order a copy, read endorsements, and more! Copyright © 2019 by Shadia Hrichi. Published by Leafwood Publishers.