“Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, ‘Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.’”
“This is your hour, and the power of darkness.” This statement sets a tone for all that would take place over the next several hours. The power of darkness would be on display. It would even appear to win.
In the three hours before Jesus’ death, the very light of the sun was extinguished. “It was now about the sixth hour [(noon)], and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour [(3 pm)], while the sun’s light failed…Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last” (Luke 23:44-46). It seemed that nature itself, overcome by darkness, was mourning the loss of its Creator, the One through whom and for whom all things were made.
But darkness did not win. The power of darkness is as nothing in comparison to the power of our God who “is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
The apostle John begins his gospel account with these words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5). This world has great darkness, the result of sin and its consequent curse. But Jesus, the Word of God, He who made all things and who is life itself, has come into the world as Light. The Light which shines in the darkness. The Light which the darkness cannot overcome.
On the cross, we see the effects of the power of darkness. No expense was spared as Jesus endured agonizing pain, abandonment, and deep betrayal. But it was not enough. As powerful as this darkness appeared, it was not enough to conquer our King. He rose again, just as He said He would. Reading the accounts of His life, it is clear that darkness was never in full control. Jesus had the power and authority to call legions of angels to His side, but He chose not to (Matthew 26:53-54). He could have saved Himself. But He chose to die so that we could be made alive in Him.
Jesus’ resurrection summarily defeated the power of darkness. Even death itself has no sting. Because for those who believe in Him, our death here on earth is the day when “what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:4). It is when our true life, eternal and filled with the glory of God, begins.
Darkness did not overcome that day on the cross. It never has and never will overcome the Light. The end has already been written: “And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:5).