“And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day” (Gen. 1:5).
In the story of creation, have you ever wondered why each day concludes with the words, “And there was evening, and there was morning”? Wouldn’t a day be morning then evening? Have you especially wondered why this phrase occurs the first day, before there was sun or moon to punctuate evening or morning?
Because of this phrasing in Genesis, Jews traditionally see a day as comprised of evening followed by morning. This is why Jewish observances (like the Sabbath) start in the evening and extend to the following evening. For centuries, the church also observed feasts in this way. This is the reason many observe Christmas eve. Christmas traditionally started the evening of December 24th. Some believers (Orthodox Christians come to mind) still hold services that begin at night and conclude in the morning.
So why evening then morning? It is because the death and resurrection of Christ framed each day of creation (and every day since). God designed this first creation with the cross in view. And there was evening/death, and there was morning/resurrection. Just as one day is evening and morning, the one Man died and rose again. Because the cross was in the heart of God before creation, there was evening and morning for three days before the sun or moon were created on day four. (Hmmm, I think three days have another significance as well….).
Just before the cross, Jesus said, “But this is your hour—and the dominion of darkness” (Luke 22:53). The crucifixion began with Jesus’s arrest at the Last Supper, the evening before Good Friday. Jesus rose from the dead on the morning of the first day of the week, when it was still dark (John 20:1). There was evening, and there was morning.
So as the sun goes down into the gathering darkness, remember that the Son went down into the grave. When the sun rises in the east, remember the Son rose from the dead! (Mal. 4:2).
The evening/morning refrain is only one example of seeing the death and resurrection of Jesus in the creation account. How do you see the cross reflected in creation?
“Weeping may spend the night, but there is joy in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).