From Ancient Days

From you shall come forth for me One who is to be Ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. (Micah 5:2b)

Calling forth things from the antediluvian history of His plan of salvation for creation, the Lord fulfills everything ever uttered, ever whispered, ever suspected, ever imagined. From the depths of ancient prophecy, the Lord brings forth His beloved Son. Unheralded by the mighty ones, shepherds first received word. No birth announcements sent throughout the land, but quietly out of the way Mary brought forth her Firstborn. As the heavenly host rearranged itself and produced a wandering star, only pagan foreigners recognized reality and went to gaze upon the face of God. The smallest of towns forever memorialized as the birthplace of God in the flesh: O little town of Bethlehem! From Bethlehem to the cross to you this very day, the long awaited Savior comes and saves.

Gracious Jesus, we have long awaited the fulfillment of your promises to us. Come soon! Amen.

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There Was Darkness Over All the Land

(Special Eclipse Day Devotion)

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. (Matthew 27:45)

Struggling to climb the slow ascent to the top of the hill, Jesus was led out as a Lamb to be slaughtered. To add an extra bit of derision to an already humiliating experience, they placed Him under the weight of His cross. Knowing full well He had no strength left to carry it, the Roman soldiers must have jeered and sneered as again and again He fell under His burden. Forward. Forward. Always forward. Resolved to finish what He started, not even His own exhaustion would keep Him from the top of the Place of the Skull.

For their part, the soldiers and on-lookers were confident they were witnessing the demise of a faithless, run-of-the-mill felon. They were doing their duty to God and to king. One more offender off the streets. Certain no innocent man would be subject to such indulgent castigation, the witnesses watched as a cruel system carried out its justice. Every official and expert in town decreed His guilt; you’d have to be a fool to decry their collective judgment. So no one did.

Finally reaching the top of Golgotha, the soldiers finished their brutal work, one nail at a time. Tearing through flesh and tendons, Jesus was secured to His cross by those nails. Hoisting Him high for all to hail, Jesus was left for dead as the spectators enjoyed the show. Nothing left to do that Friday afternoon but wait. Jokes were made, belongings were doled out, and justice was served.

Then the sun went dark. Blacked out as if a divine pronouncement upon the evil transacted. Do you suppose an ounce of doubt may have found its way to the mind of the self-assured elites? Fear and trembling to the “innocent” bystanders. Certainly they questioned and second-guessed themselves, right? But what could they do? They’d already beaten Him so severely; He’d soon die anyways. He was already burrowed in all tight and snug to the cross. The cocksure chief priests, teachers of the law, Pharisees, Sadducees, and whoever else was around that day couldn’t admit their treachery. They simply couldn’t undo what they had done.

So darkness fell over the land for about three hours. Darkness, the only place where evil such as this could be executed. Darkness, like the place our sins always prefer. Darkness, tucked away and safely out of sight. Darkness, like the angry hearts of stone that watched.

Darkness that focused their eyes on the Savior. Darkness that taught truth.

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Darkness threatens to overtake our world and all its inhabitants today, but the Man on that cross won’t allow it. He will not allow the darkness that reigned in the land that day to reign in your life. Jesus brings light and life. Out of the blotted sun darkness of that afternoon, the Light of the World shines brightly for those with eyes of faith to see! Upon His cross, in His death, out of the darkness from the world around Him, salvation shines through in full brightness.

Lord Jesus, as we enjoy a spectacle of astronomical proportions today with the darkening of the sun, let your Light shine all the brighter in our world . . . in our lives. Amen.