Biblical scholars continue to debate the significance of the “darkness that came over the whole land” in the crucifixion accounts in the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke.
Early theories held that it was a solar eclipse, but scientists contest this explanation as a solar eclipse only occurs during a new moon, and Passover only takes place during a full moon.
Intriguingly, in 1983, Colin Humphreys and W. G. Waddington, who had used astronomical methods to calculate the crucifixion date as 3 April 33, argued that the darkness could be accounted for by a partial lunar eclipse that had taken place on that day.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth into its shadow, and the Sun, Earth and Moon are exactly aligned with the Earth in the middle (a full moon). Lunar eclipses have been regarded as omens of change, marking significant events in history such as the siege of Syracuse in 413 BC, a fire in the Temple of Athena in 406 BC, and the death of Herod in 5 BC. In the modern era, Christopher Columbus used the March AD 1504 lunar eclipse to appear god-like when he stated to the natives on the north coast of Jamaica that he would make the Moon disappear. Using astronomical tables, Columbus correctly predicted the disappearance of the Moon, which convinced the natives of his power.
We may never be able to prove if the darkness that day was a miracle, eclipse, or a literary creation of the Gospel writers to heighten the theological significance of the crucifixion, but it is easy to understand how a “period of darkness” can be a marker of change.
The good news is that we are sure of the event that happened three days later: Christ Has Risen. With His rising comes all our hopes. He has conquered death for us and we no longer have to strive to earn our entrance into heaven; our sins are forgiven.
It is almost exactly 1982 years between the lunar eclipse on 3 April 33 at Golgotha when our Lord was crucified, and the lunar eclipse of 4 April 2015 this past weekend. The recent lunar eclipse and Easter Sunday remind us that out of darkness comes light, and that Jesus rose from the dead to bring change in our lives.
Does April 5, 2015, the day of the Easter celebration mark the day of change in your life?
It was April 5, 33 AD when Christ rose from the tomb, and that event changed the course of the history of the world.
Blessings, my friend,