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Hope in the Heartland

(Editor’s note: This is the eighth in a series leading to Easter.)

Pastor of Peabody Bible Church

Jesus’ words to the heartbroken woman filled the soldier with a curiosity that stabbed at his thoughts. “Is this his mother?”

And as she turned to leave, the anguish etched on her tear-stained face troubled him. He had seen that tortured look before — whenever mothers watched their sons executed by crucifixion.

He knew his mother would weep too, if it were him on those beams.

The bright sun, now perched at midday, shined down upon the hillside, sending cross-shaped shadows stretching out across the ground.

While the soldier brushed sweat from his face with the side of his hand, a troubling realization seized his mind. Nervous voices from the crowd expressed what his own eyes were seeing, but what his mind could not rationally explain: night was falling in the middle of the afternoon. Quickly the entire land was plunged into blinding darkness, as though a suffocating shroud of blackness had been lowered over the sun.

Uncertainty stampeded through the soldier’s mind and he fought to keep confusion from trampling his senses. He heard other soldiers stumbling in the dark to light campfires.

“What is going on?” he muttered anxiously.

For the next three hours he waited, staring into a daytime darkness unlike anything he had ever experienced before; the darkness pushed against his increasingly raw senses.

Suddenly every muscle tensed and he felt a chill race up his spine when the voice of Jesus burst from the darkness, “My God … my God … why have you left me alone?”

To be continued …

Last modified March 3, 2010

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