The Night Shift is both the time slot of a 24-hour work operation that occurs between sunset and sunrise, and it is the crew that works during that time slot. Mostly, people wind down to sleep during the night-time, although many consider that to be the time to seek fun and revelry in many forms. But, work patterns are the major driver of people who work by night and sleep during the day.
The night-time can be a scary time in the natural world. Animals that eat plants often move about “under the cover of darkness.” Carnivores mostly hunt the grazers at night, and many of them work out a night shift with other species of carnivore so that they will not cross purposes while hunting the same patch of ground. I became acquainted with that years ago when I captured a young raccoon in a live trap. My goal was to catch her and relocate her away from my vegetable garden. Raccoons are omnivorous, meaning that they can be carnivores when the opportunity arises.
I discovered the captured raccoon just before morning twilight, and I left her in the trap to show her to my family when they woke up. Shortly after I left, I heard a strange barking sound from the garden. It was a fox (another carnivore), very angry with the raccoon, for being on the hunting grounds “during fox time.” The raccoon knew it. She nervously clutched her tail and had a look on her face like the fox was justified to scold her for doing wrong.
The term “night” has synonyms, one of which is “darkness.” Consider that goodness can be expressed as sunshine or the “light.” Darkness, then, would be the time of evil. Practically, that makes sense, for those who would go abroad to do evil welcome the atmospheric condition of darkness to give them protection (not to be seen or caught) as they do evil and to flee.
Folks tend to define evil as something counter to what they want to do, a definition that can put one on the wrong side of the law (rules of behavior in a society) of government and/or the wrong side of God. An evil deed, referred to as sin, is human activity that affronts or counters God’s purpose. You may be familiar with the Ten Commandments. As they are written in Elizabethan English, seven of them begin with “You shall not,” two begin with action verbs, “Remember” and “Honor.” The first commandment is God’s authoritative statement to the Hebrews. He told them the one thing that will most affront him.
The Christian Bible is a repository of mankind’s encounters with God. The stories within describe individuals who make attempts to contact God, to pray, to worship, and to conduct their lives in a manner that pleases God. But, they all fall short of what God expects them to be. So, he helps them. Throughout the Old Testament of the Bible, you see examples of God teaching, guiding, and helping. But, he expects his effort to bear fruit, that mankind will turn back to him fully. Over time, Prophets, men allowed to have vision from God, foretold of something great coming, and they advised the Hebrew people to prepare for that great thing, a coming Messiah, a Christ.
The New Testament of the Christian Bible is about that prophecy that was fulfilled. Jesus, who referred to himself as “The Son of Man” to publicly draw attention to the fact that he was born of a human Mother, was also the Son of God. He had to figure that out for himself, and he did that by doing what we all should do: He prayed. Prayer is communication, and as God decided, he communicated back to Jesus, his Son, through prayer. The communication between God and His Son must have been extraordinary, but they were private talks and we know almost nothing about them. We do know, from scripture in the New Testament, that Jesus prayed while he was in synagogues and Jewish temples. But, he prayed often, wherever he was.
The darkness was deepest for Jesus as he neared the time for him to be sacrificed for the benefit of mankind. With little time left for him to help his disciples to understand what he was about to experience and give them the resolve to grow the Christian Church after his death and resurrection, Jesus continued to pray to God. Web search Matthew 27:46. The human side of Jesus felt the excruciating pain of human cruelty, beatings, humiliation, and finally, crucifixion. Jesus prayed to God to spare him from the pending sacrifice.
Web search Luke 22:42. That must have broken God’s heart. How would you feel if your son asked you in fear to protect him, and you chose not to do it? Jesus did not say that he would not complete his task, but in human form, he cut, bled, and suffered every possible physical and mental injury that any of us can suffer. Of course, he would want to omit those experiences. In that prayer, he represented all humanity that suffers such things. But, for God, this was the tipping point. Already, God had determined that all members of mankind fell short of deserving grace. He must have seen that this was the human side of Jesus that prayed to him for mercy. Still, Jesus’ undeserved sacrifice was the means to bridge mankind with God’s mercy.