At this time of the year, when the Christian Community is celebrating the death and resurrection of our precious Savior, I am reminded again of one of the most momentous and consequential events that occurred the moment Jesus died.
Matthew’s Gospel describes many of the details of the crucifixion, ending with these incredible words: ” . . . but about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, “My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken me?” . . . “Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and yielded up His spirit. And , behold, THE VEIL OF THE TEMPLE WAS RENT IN TWO FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM; and the earth quaked; and the rocks split . . .” (Matt. 27:46, 50-51)
The moment that Jesus breathed his last breath, the CURTAIN of the temple was TORN IN TWO from the TOP to the BOTTOM, as the earth quaked and the rocks were split! This would present a horrifying situation to the priests of the temple. The purpose of the veil (or the curtain) was to separate the Holy of Holies containing the Ark of the Covenant and the place of God’s Holy Presence from the rest of the Tabernacle and the people who greatly feared His Presence.
From the time that Israel was brought out of bondage in Egypt, God made His Presence known to His people in the separated, secluded and sanctified Holiest Place in the Tabernacle in the wilderness. The temple in Jerusalem was later built after the same pattern. Only the appointed High Priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, and that just once a year to sprinkle blood on the Mercy Seat to cover the sins of the people for a year. This was done because “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sins.” However, in those sacrifices there was “a remembrance again of sins every year, for it was not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Heb. 9:22; 10:3,4)
THEN JESUS CAME!
The 10th chapter of the book of Hebrews explains the marvel of this truth. After He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, Jesus sat down on the right hand of God, to await the day of total victory over all His enemies. He has covenanted to put His laws in our hearts and write them in our minds!
“Therefore, we may have boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He has consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and, having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith . . .” Here we are assured that we may enter right into the very Holy of Holies – into the Presence of God – because of the sacrificial blood of Jesus. (vss. 19-22a)
This is the fresh, new, life-giving way which Christ has opened up for us by tearing the curtain – His human body – to let us into the Holy Presence of God. And since this great High Priest of ours rules over God’s household, let us go right in, to God Himself, with true hearts fully trusting him to receive us. “Let us hold firmly to an unflinching avowal of our HOPE, for He is faithful Who gave us the promises.” (vs. 23)
Under the Old Covenant, the people knew God as a powerful and austere Potentate, Whose voice thundered at them in great clouds of darkness and fire! But Jesus taught us to say, “Our Father…Abba!”
Let us run in to His Presence, climb up on His lap, throw our arms around His neck, and say, “I love You, Papa!”
Into Your Presence I come
Not by the works I have done,
But by Your Grace, by Your Grace alone,
Into Your Presence I come.
And now we may sing with great rejoicing:
I’ve believed the true report, Hallelujah to the Lamb!
I have passed the outer court, O, glory be to God! . . .
By the Spirit’s power and light, I am living day and night
In the holiest place so bright, Hallelujah to the Lamb! . . .
I’m within the holiest pale, Hallelujah to the Lamb!
I have passed the inner veil, O, glory be to God!
I am sanctified to God by the power of the blood,
Now the Lord is my abode, Hallelujah to the Lamb!
“May God, the giver of hope,
fill you with continual joy and peace because you trust in Him-
so that you may have abundant hope
through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
(Romans 15:13 Weymouth)
In Agape, Eulene