Black Friday (Finding Meaning in the Madness)

So many of you braved the Black Friday sales this year?  Though I haven’t gone since I’ve had kids (it’s not as easy to elbow your way to the good stuff with two heavyweights dragging you down), I’ve seen my share of Black Friday drama.  In fact, my wife almost got mauled by a shopping cart at one sale, and we still have the discounted kitchen table to prove it! 

But even I’ll admit that this thing has gotten a bit out of control.  While most of us were warming up our leftover turkey this past Friday, 156 million shoppers hit the ground running while even more shoppers spent over $3.52 billion dollars online!  It just goes to show that a lot of people are looking for a great deal – something to satisfy them.  The sad part is, they won’t find anything truly satisfying in a holiday sale.

Around the water cooler this week, your co-workers will likely be talking about the Black Friday madness. While they’re on this topic, it would be a great time to bring up a real Black Friday – the darkest day in earth’s history, in fact.  And just like a truly great sale – something that started out black and terrifying ended up with incredible news for us!  

I’m talking, of course, about the Day of the Crucifixion.  Matthew 27:45 explains that as Christ was about to give up the ghost, total and complete darkness overcame the world.  I imagine that this was more than a solar eclipse… as the spiritual Light of the World was about to lose His life, the physical world responded by extinguishing its light completely.  Not a single star shed its light on the earth below – can you imagine?  

What did it mean?  This “Black Friday” recorded in the pages of history is dripping with meaning for us today.  It revealed three things that are essential for us to know:

1.) The Darkness Revealed Just How Bad Our Sin Really Is

Just a little white lie, you say?  Just a harmless little indulgence?  According to God, desiring evil things with our hearts and searching for them with our eyes fills our hearts with great darkness (Matthew 6:23; John 3:19-20).  Our sin is not just a big deal in God’s eyes – it’s a dealbreaker.   He can’t just look the other way and remain a perfect God.  Sin is like a black cancer eating away at our hearts… it has to be removed in order for us to find true life! 

2.) The Darkness Revealed Just How Little We Understand  

Have you ever talked about someone being “in the dark,” meaning they didn’t have a clue as to what was going on?  Even though we all need Christ to forgive the penalty of our sin-stained hearts, most people have no idea that this is even a problem!  How can they be so blind, you ask?  2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us that Satan – the god of this world – has blinded them and clouded their judgment.  He’s fighting hard to keep your family and friends in the dark!  But, thank God, the Holy Spirit is able to illuminate the understanding of the most stubborn minds and soften the coldest of hearts (I Corinthians 2:10-12). 

3.) The Darkness Revealed the Intensity of Christ’s Suffering 

The cross was more than a bad way to die – Jesus experienced what it felt like to be totally separated from God’s presence, and it tore Him apart (Matthew 27:46).  His heart-wrenching pain was reflected in nature, as the earth shook, the rocks split open, and every source of light went out.  Why would He put Himself through such agony?  Why would God the Father allow Him to do this?  You can find the answer by walking to a mirror and taking a good look.  He did it for you.   He suffered so you wouldn’t have to.  He endured the darkness so that you could walk in the light for all of eternity (John 3:16).  All you have to do is call on the name of Jesus for help.  Have you “turned the lights on” in your own life?  If not, what are you waiting for? 

I love the adventure and excitement of a doorbuster sale, but the thrill of finding a great deal wanes in comparison to finding the greatest deal of all time.  We can trade our darkness for His perfect light.  Talk about the deal of the century! 

While our friends and co-workers are laughing about this past weekend’s Black Friday madness, let’s point them to the Bible’s “Black Friday Message.”  Because with God, you see, our “Black Friday” can become a “Good Friday” – we simply have to let Him work.

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