When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!”
— Jesus (Luke 22: 53)
You’ve probably heard it said–and I heard it said by cops and prosecutors a lot when I covered police news and criminal courts as a reporter–that “nothing good happens after midnight.”
Indeed, there’s not always a lot of good happening as early as 10 p.m. or so. Those of a certain age will remember when that little public-service message used to broadcast in which the ominous question was asked, “It’s 10 p.m.–do you know where your children are?”
This aired immediately before newscasters gave the 10 o’cock news rundown of the latest murder and mayhem out there in the darkness of the wicked city (which had the effect of making parents with kids not home at that hour feel either guilt or worried sick).
The announcement always brought to my mind what my Holy Ghost-consumed, Pentecostal Aunt Newell used to say: “The later the hour, the greater the Tempter’s power.”
* * * *
When Judas and the goons that he sold out to went to grab Jesus, they naturally went to grab him late at night, under the cover of darkness.
Jesus the fearless truth-teller pointed this out to them as a way of exposing and condemning their cowardice:
“When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!” (Luke 22: 53)
The gospel of John has Jesus touching in several places on the contrast between the power of darkness, which couldn’t overcome the power of light–the power of truth.
“For all those who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed, and those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God” (John 3: 20-21).
They swept Jesus away in the darkness of night, but the darkness could not overcome the first light of Easter morning.
Sunrise was the hour–the power of light!