The Hour that Darkness Reigns

Judas has cut the deal with the leading priests of the temple: Jesus will be handed over for 30 pieces of silver. Here they come into the Garden to arrest Him.

If the disciples couldn't stay awake in the Garden, surely they are awake now! There are two swords among them. "Lord, should we strike with our swords?!" One of them can't wait for Jesus to answer and, I imagine, in hysteria he starts swinging. The zealous disciple is to be credited with a degree of success for he cuts off the ear of the high priest's servant.

Despite his defender's valiant effort, that's not Christ's desire. So He touches the man's ear (that has been cut off) and heals the high priest's servant. (Some believe He touched the place where the ear had been. Others believe he picked up the ear and put it back on.) But after he touches and heals His enemy, He asks the question, "Am I some dangerous criminal that you have come to arrest me with swords and clubs? I was with you every day in the Temple, and you didn't lay a hand on me. But this is your hour -- when darkness reigns."

This is your hour. The events that follow the arrest of Christ are some of the most painful even to read. To know that One who was innocent suffered a death reserved for the worst of mankind will bring even the hardest of hearts to tears. Darkness did reign when He was tried unjustly. Darkness did reign when He was beaten mercilessly. Darkness did reign when He was tried illegally. Jesus said this is your hour, your moment. It is the hour, the moment when darkness reigns. O! How terrible an hour it was.

But in that moment when Judas had planted his betrayer's kiss, the disciples stood fearful and confused and the Temple priests and guards accosted Him as if He were a common criminal, He says something that sounds almost too good to be true: darkness reigns an hour. In other words, it reigns TEMPORARILY. I'm not putting words into His mouth. That's what He said to the leading priests and the Temple police in Luke 22:53b: ". . . but this is your hour, and the power of darkness." The New Living Translation says, ". . . but this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns."

Yes, the terrible truth is that darkness will reign, that darkness does reign. We all know that truth too well. But if you can, please remind yourself that after the darkness of a Good Friday, Resurrection Sunday comes. If you can remember that Christ's metaphor is powerful. Think about it: there are 24 hours in a day. And metaphorically, Jesus refers to the reign of darkness as AN hour. If you can remember that in light of the broad stretch of eternity and the vast expanse of God's providence, it is only AN hour, you can make it. I remember the words of the Apostle Paul who said, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment [an hour, if you please] worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17).

It is true in life: we do suffer some very dark hours. There are times when evil prevails. Times when you deserve something that someone else gets. Or times when you suffer for something someone else did. And darkness reigns. But I am encouraged today that though it reigns, it only reigns, if you please, for AN hour.



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