“… but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.” (Luke 22:53)
The God who brought creation into existence and sustains it is the LORD of time. As the Psalmist puts it, “our times are in His hands” (Psa. 31:15). But here the Lord, it seems, will cede control of time to the evil one that he may have his way. That the devil is shortsighted, a result of his raging and searing hatred for his maker, is plainly seen in Scripture. Little did he know that what he considered a major coup in his ongoing fight against God is merely a temporal victory, if it may be referred to as a victory at all.
To the Pharisees and club wielding multitude the Lord spoke these words, saying in essence, “the story doesn’t end here; there is a twist about to happen in the plot and you don’t know the half of it.” They had been ushered on this path by Caiaphas’ seemingly wise words (Jn. 11:49 – 53), but if only they knew that was all part of the plot. The One who determined these events was in the heavens and He wasn’t taken by surprise.
To the reader, these words are very instructive, especially if you’re an unbeliever. As is the nature of man, we live as if our times are in our hands and we are the determiners of our end. We live as if we are certain of the day or hour the Lord Jesus will return. But we’re just as shortsighted as all those who thought they had scored a major victory against Jesus. Indeed, I’d argue that our short-sightedness is far worse given the revelation of God at our disposal.
Do you hear the Gospel and the necessity of repentance from sin preached but still you delay in responding appropriately because you perceive you can do it at a later time in your life? Then hear the Lord tell you that this hour and the power of darkness are yours, but there is coming a day of reckoning. A day completely out of your hands; a day which will reveal your irrelevance and insignificance except to show the might of God’s justice.
Is this difficult for you to take in? Well, it should! So let me now invite you to witness the scene in the Garden (Lk. 22:44). Observe the groans and agony of the One who spoke the words presently considered. Now, go further to Golgotha (Lk. 23:33ff) and here witness the fruit of the hour of darkness… it’s the Son of God lampooned on a wooden cross; the Lamb of God slain for the sins of His people. It doesn’t end here however, proceed to the tomb (Lk. 24:1, 2)… there’s no one there! HE IS RISEN! The Son of Man is alive! Oh, how the powers of darkness have been shamed!
Do you see that? Do you see that the work of satisfying the Father’s just anger over sin has been accomplished? Do you see that you have no excuse to continue living in sin? Do you see that it is sheer folly to have a way of escape from the certain judgement of God over rebellious sinners but continue in the very path that leads to that judgement?
If you do, this hour and the power of darkness are yours, but know for certain that this is the case only because the sovereign God of all the earth allows it.