The solar eclipse that happened in mid-March was indeed a breathtaking spectacle. While millions witnessed the event around the world, a fortunate few in the Faroe Islands and Svalbard, far north of Europe, even got to see a total solar eclipse, with the moon completely blocking the sun.
As I don’t live anywhere close to those regions, I turned to the Internet for videos and photographs of this event—and was gobsmacked. As the moon crept past the sun and blocked it from view, blinding sunbeams streamed through the sky. Then, at 9.14 a.m., the bright morning sky suddenly turned dark, as if twilight had fallen, before complete darkness fell. It all seemed so surreal. What a “freak” of nature it was, I thought to myself. I just couldn’t grasp the science of it all.
The eclipse reminded me of a similar darkness that spanned the sky after Christ’s death on the cross. Matthew 27:45 describes what happened: “From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.” A full three hours! While some have speculated that this was due to a total eclipse, others have contended that it was not possible for a total eclipse to last so long, as the moon was in the wrong position at the time.
What I found more interesting, however, was the differing reactions both events evoked in people. On March 20, 2015, those watching the eclipse, which included stargazers and campers, were filled with anticipation and excitement as they prepared for the moment. In contrast, when the sky turned dark at Jesus’ crucifixion, people were filled with remorse, guilt, anger or fear. “They were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:54). It made me wonder: How would I have responded if I were present at Jesus’ crucifixion?
Though we do not know if darkness had covered the entire world or just part of it, we do know with certainty that God was glorified through what had happened. The miraculous phenomenon demonstrated God’s power and showed the impact of the crucifixion on the whole world.
As we look back on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, let’s take some time to reflect on Jesus’ death for us. He took our sins and shame away and freely forgave us, so that we could be reconciled to God. Without the light of Christ, the world would still remain in darkness.