Calvary's Darkest Hours (ESV)
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- Format: Folded Tract
- Paper: Gloss Text
- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 4
- Version: ESV
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The full text of this tract is shown below in the ESV version. (Do you want to print this tract in a different version than the one listed? Contact us and let us know what you're looking for—we may be able to create the alternate version for you at no charge.)
From 9:00 AM till 12:00 noon, the Lord Jesus hung on the cross in open shame before the face of men and angels. But from noon to three o’clock, a supernatural darkness covered the entire earth. According to Luke 23:44, “It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.” A solar eclipse could not have taken place because the Passover celebration at the time of Christ’s death necessitated a full moon. This meant that the moon was positioned opposite of the sun. The darkness was divinely wrought by God. But why the darkness?
The main message of Calvary’s darkness is one of divine judgment. In the Bible, darkness is associated with judgment. Amos 8:9 says, “And on that day,” declares the Lord God, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.” Many Bible passages join darkness with judgment (see Isaiah 5:30; 59:9; 60:2; Joel 2:30-31; Amos 5:18,20; Matthew 8:12; 24:29). The Lord Jesus took upon himself all of our sins. Isaiah 53:6b states: “…and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” On that dark day, Jesus became our sin-bearer. 2 Corinthians 5:21a says: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin…” According to Galatians 3:13b, the Lord Jesus “[became] a curse for us.” 1 Peter 2:24a reports: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,…” In the darkness, the Lord Jesus suffered the unexplainable abandonment of God and His Father’s severe but just punishment of sins.
While movies attempt to depict the agonies of Jesus, none come close to portraying the spiritual transaction that took place in the darkness. Jesus paid it all. Jesus took away our sins. He was our sin-bearing substitute. His cross-work extinguishes the wrath of God. His atoning sacrifice breaks the darkness of sin (Matthew 6:23; John 3:19; Ephesians 5:8), destroys the darkness of Satan’s kingdom (Acts 26:18; Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:13), and delivers us from the horrors of darkness which is linked with death (Genesis 15:12; Job 3:5; 10:21; Jeremiah 13:16).
The Lord Jesus plainly told us the reason for His sacrificial death. “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). His blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:22). Here are four simple truths that you must realize in order to receive forgiveness of sin and eternal life.
1. You must realize that you are a sinner.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin is not just a matter of not being perfect. It is breaking God’s law, we have truly offended a holy God. By nature and choice we are all sinners (see also Romans 3:10; 5:12). The problem with mankind is not education, environment, or money. The problem is sin.
2. You must realize the penalty of sin.
“For the wages of sin is death...” (Romans 6:23a). There are several results of sin such as crime, physical death, and shame. However, there is an ultimate penalty for sin and that is spiritual death in an eternal Hell. This is certain because the Lord Jesus Himself said so: “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). Hell is the final destination for all unrepentant sinners (see also Revelation 21:8).
3. The Lord Jesus died, was buried, and rose again for you.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). When the Lord Jesus hung on the cross, He took on Himself the judgment of God for your sins. He paid the penalty for your sins. He rose on the third day triumphant over sin and death (see also 2 Corinthians 5:21; John 3:16).
4. You must turn from sin and self, and trust in Christ alone as your Savior.
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). No church, sacrament, or good works could ever take you to Heaven; only the Lord Jesus can. Trust Him today, and by faith receive Him as your Savior (see also John 1:12).