Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Ripped Curtain

Matthew 27:50-51 (NLT)
Then Jesus shouted out again, and He released his spirit.  At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.  The earth shook, rocks split apart.

From noon until 3pm, as Jesus hung on the cross, the earth was dark “for the sun stopped shining”.  Then He breathed His last.  At that moment, something big happened – the earth shook, rocks split and the curtain in the Temple was torn.  Why this curtain detail?  Certainly houses collapsed and people were hurt.  Who cares if a curtain ripped from top to bottom or from bottom to top?

First, some background information.  This curtain hung in the desert tabernacle from the time of Moses and then in the Jerusalem Temple between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.  Only priests could enter the Holy Place and The Most Holy Place was believed to be where God resided, seated on the Ark of the Covenant which held the stone tablets containing the Law of Moses.  One priest, once a year, after carefully prescribed cleansing and sacred preparation, entered the Most Holy Place to stand in the presence of God.  If the priest hadn’t offered the appropriate sacrifices and properly cleansed himself of all sin, he would die.  God is too holy to be in the presence of sin.  I’ve read that the curtain was 60 feet high, 30 feet wide and 4 inches thick.  That’s almost as wide and tall as my house! (and as thick as a man’s fist) At the moment Jesus died, this wall-of-a-curtain tore into two pieces from top to bottom.  That’s peculiar.

Symbolism and Scripture tell us that when Jesus died, He ripped down the curtain.  His blood did the final and perfect cleansing, enabling each one of us to stand before God.  No more intermediary priest.  No more bloody sacrifices.  It is finished. 

Let’s not leave this as mere information and symbolism.  This is real.  Jesus willingly, loving laid down His life so that we may have unlimited and direct access to God.  On this Good Friday, let this good news penetrate your heart and change your life.  Christ paid a dear price for your salvation.  God’s grace is free, but not cheap.

Hebrews 10:19-22 (NLT)
So... we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.  By His death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place….Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him.

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