The focal fulfillment of Christ is at hand. Of all that could have been hoped for, the least anticipated proves to be the greatest accomplished. Jesus is King of kings and will indeed show Himself majestic, exceeding all expectation. His glory will glow with a burning brilliance. But the darkness must precede the dawn.
Here we are met with the most sublime and sacred truths ever revealed: the sinless Son of God suffers, culminating in crucifixion, as a substitutionary sacrifice to bear the just punishment of sinners in their place. Holy God in human flesh is despised and rejected—smitten and afflicted. These are realities beyond the powers of human reason to fully comprehend—events too wonderful, too dreadful and deep, to peer into without penetrating awe. Luther said, “No understanding can fathom nor tongue can express, no writing can record, but only the inward feeling can grasp what is involved in the suffering of Christ.”
In Matthew 26 and 27, the sufferings of Christ are depicted in monumental darkness. But this darkness shines. In it and through it, the glory of Christ is magnificently manifested. The Light of the world momentarily appears to be extinguished by the darkness. But the darkness of Matthew 26-27 will be swallowed up in the dawn of Matthew 28. Sin and death itself will be conquered in Christ. Here we discover that the darkness is purposed by the will of God for the redemption of rebels. Redemption has been decreed in a manner no less a sovereign than in creation. So at every turn it is no surprise that God is in control. For the sake of His glory and our joy, He has commanded the cross as though to say, Let there be darkness. He will then command the dawn.