“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Matthew 27:51, NIV)
The temple curtain, or veil, was torn from top to bottom at the moment Jesus gave up his spirit (Matthew 27:50). Why is this significant? Let’s go back to Exodus and the Tabernacle. This was a place God’s spirit could dwell, and the Israelites could worship God.
8 “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. 9 Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.” (Exodus 25: 8-9, NIV)
God gave specific instructions to Moses for the Tabernacle and the Most Holy Place.
31 “Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker. 32 Hang it with gold hooks on four posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold and standing on four silver bases. 33 Hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the covenant law behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. 34 Put the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law in the Most Holy Place. 35 Place the table outside the curtain on the north side of the tabernacle and put the lamp stand opposite it on the south side.”(Exodus 26: 31-35, NIV).
This curtain was beautiful but strong; Separating the people from God’s presence. Only the High Priest was allowed behind the curtain, and only once a year (Exodus 30:10). The priest had to wash himself, wear special garments, burn incense, and bring sacrificial blood to atone for sins (Exodus 28-30). Aaron, the first high priest and Moses’ brother, was told not to come to the Most Holy Place whenever he chooses or he would die (Leviticus 16:1-2). Going into the Holy of Holies was not to be taken lightly and very few even entered the sacred space. God was protecting the people.
But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live” (Exodus 33:20, NIV).
The first temple was built by Solomon, and had forty-five foot high walls (1 Kings 6:20). Fast forward to Jesus’ time on earth. Herod refurbished the second temple making it taller. According to the historian Josephus, Herod’s temple veil was close to sixty feet high, and the temple curtain was at least an inch thick. Some claim the curtain was four inches thick.
At the moment Jesus took his last breath the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). God tore the massive, thick temple curtain. Not man. The separation between us and God was destroyed because of Jesus sacrifice on the cross. Jesus is the great high priest.
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need,” (Hebrews 4:14-16, NIV).
We can come boldly to the throne of grace. No more curtain. We have the joy and privilege to approach God with confidence all because of precious Jesus. He empathizes with us since He lived for a while among us, yet He never sinned. He took on our sin and atoned for us. Jesus was the perfect, sacrificial lamb for the entire world.
“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2, NIV).
Love! Love! Love! Jesus died for us because of His great love for us. The most beautiful love story in all human history. The curtain is never going back up. We do not have to atone for our sins. Jesus did that on the cross. Thank you Jesus!
Do you know Jesus? He already knows you. He loves you. He paid your sin debt in full.
We praise you Jesus! There is none like you.
Love you all,