Golgotha, The Place of the Skull. This dark place was where the worst of the worst went to die. It was a place of torment, pain, and humiliation. Yet, one of the most fantastic events of history happened here. Christian or not this is the place where Jesus Christ died, and that is significant. But what is significant about that? All men must die; since the beginning of time, millions have. It is significant because Christ’s death was something more. Christ’s death was a second exodus.
During the first exodus God, through Moses, led the children of Israel out of their slavery to the Egyptians into the promise land. Metaphorically, this is exactly what Christ did. Christ led the people of God not out of slavery to the Egyptians nor Rome, but rather he led the people of God out of slavery to their own sins. This is the second exodus, and so much of the cross points to that.
First, there is the darkness. Darkness came over the land for three hours right in the middle of the day before Jesus died. This supernatural darkness is a blinking light pointing us to the exodus narrative. In Egypt right before the plague of the first-born sons when all the first born sons died, a supernatural darkness came over the land of Egypt for three days. Is this all by accident: darkness over the land for three hours before God’s first born son dies and darkness over the land for three days before the Egyptians’ first born sons die? It could be, but there’s more.
Which feast was the Israelites celebrating during Christ’s crucifixion? The Passover! The very feast that reminded the nation of God’s deliverance from the Egyptians! The nation of Israel was delivered because of the blood of the sacrificial lamb slaughtered on their behalf, and Christ did the same. He saved his people through his own sacrificial blood on their behalf. He is the sacrificial lamb of the second exodus.
The implications of this are incredible. One of the hardest things to understand about the death of Christ is that when he dies, the tombs of long dead saints break open. And surprise! These dead people come back to life and tour the city (Mathew 27:52-53). But in light of this exodus, it makes since. This is a foreshadowing of what Christ’s sacrifice means for his people. The prophet Isaiah talked about a time when God would show up and judge the nations. And he says in that time, “Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy (Isaiah 26:19)!” There will be a day when Christ comes back, and because of his sacrificial death when he does, his saints shall all rise again. This event is a foreshadowing of that day.
Another implication of Jesus’ death is the bridge to God. When Jesus died, the curtain in the temple was torn in two. This is no ordinary curtain. This is a giant thick curtain that went from the roof of the temple to it’s floor separating the Holy of Holies (where the presence of God dwelt) from the rest of the temple where the people were permitted to go. This curtain separated God from his people. When Christ died the curtain was ripped in half. Through his death the people of God now had access into God’s presence.
Christ’s death was a second exodus. Through it he led God’s people out of slavery to their own sin. In his final moments, Jesus (who is dying of suffocation) lets out a loud cry. He should have died with a whimper from lack of air. Yet, he gives a loud cry. For his cry was not a cry of death but of victory.