“By grace alone somehow I stand, where even angels fear to tread” (Rend Collective)
“Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place…But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing.” (Hebrews 9:3,7,8)
“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.” (Matthew 27:50-51)
“With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Mark 15:37-38)
“For the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.” (Luke 23:45-46)
“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face,beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:12-18)
The verses about the curtain temple being torn from top to bottom is my favorite part of the crucifixion. I love it because of its symbolism. In Old Testament times, the room of the temple behind the curtain was the Most Holy Place. Only the high priest could go in there, and he even went in with bells on and a rope tied around his foot. If the bells stopped ringing, that meant he had died and they would pull him out by the rope. And as it says in Hebrews, he had to go in with a sacrifice for his sins and other’s sins. If he didn’t, well, then, that’s when the bells would stop ringing.
God is more than just holy. He’s Holy Holy Holy. In fact, in Revelations 4, it talks about four creatures that never cease to say, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” These creatures have one job, and they will never be dissatisfied with it. Because God is holy, He cannot dwell with that which is not holy. And if you take an honest look at your life, you will find that you are very very far from holy. Therefore, God cannot dwell with us.
But this is where the story gets really awesome! Enter Jesus. When Christ gave up his spirit, the earth shook, rocks split, and the curtain was torn in two. No one was there to rip it. No one sat at the top and used scissors to slice it, no, God alone had the power to do that. This was no small curtain; it was 60 feet long, 30 feet wide, and the thickness of the palm of the hand (about four inches). Not your everyday curtain.
Okay so recap. The temple has this REALLY big curtain that separates the Most Holy Place from the rest of the temple. The high priest goes in there once a year and not without blood for the sacrifice. God is HOLY HOLY HOLY. And we are unholy. So does Jesus’ crucifixion have to do with this?
When Jesus died on the cross, he took our sins upon him and bestowed His righteousness upon us. Because of what Jesus did, God now sees us as blameless and pure in his eyes. We should never have been able to appear before God, but because Jesus was sacrificed on our behalf, once and for all, we can approach the throne of God with confidence. The first quote by Rend Collective finishes out “By grace alone somehow I stand, where even angels fear to tread. Invited by Redeeming Love, before the throne of God above.” (Boldly I Approach-The Art of Celebration) There is freedom in the gospel of Jesus Christ; Christ died for us, bridging the gap between us and God, and after three days, up from the grave he arose! Today He is seated at the right hand of God, and we can approach the throne boldly because Jesus gave us His righteousness in exchange for our sin. And that is why the curtain in the temple ripping in two is my favorite part of the death of Jesus.
Rejoice! For He is risen!