That’s a scary thought, right? When darkness reigns?
That’s what Jesus said as He was being led off to trial and crucifixion. He chided the chief priests, officers of the temple guard, and the elders in Luke 22: “Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”
Is there anything more frightening than to hear the Son of God confess that this is the hour when darkness reigns? I don’t think so. In fact, just reading the verse, you could easily look at it as an acknowledgment of defeat, as if Jesus was saying, “I tried my best to win, for light to shine. But despite my best efforts, I have been defeated. Darkness reigns.” How hopeless. How utterly demoralizing in every sense to hear our champion, with His head hanging low, admit that He is going down.
And yet, just a few verses before this, we find the bigger truth at play here. Peter took out his sword and started swiping at people’s ears, when Jesus called him down. Essentially, in this moment where Peter was trying so hard to not let darkness reign, Jesus said, “Really, Peter? Do you honestly think you can stop this? You can’t, but it’s not because I’m overcome. It’s because I have chosen for it to be this way. I could have a host of angels here in a microsecond.”
That’s important. It’s important because it means that even though all things point to the fact that darkness reigns, it only “reigns” at the divine, sovereign permission of Jesus. It reigns because He lets it reign.
And He let it reign because of the bigger truth of redemption at work. God was not overcome that moment in the garden. Oh, the light of good might have seemed dim, but God was simply trimming the wick. In just a matter of hours, its light would shine forth like the dawn—the dawn of a Sunday morning—and chase away the haughty darkness that was so sure of its triumph.
There are times in our lives when darkness seems to reign. We look for the light and there doesn’t seem to be any. But in those moments, God is just trimming the wick. And the light will shine forth like the dawn.
Hold on. Morning is coming.