At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. (Mt. 27:51)
The moment Jesus took His last breath, the curtain in the temple was torn from top to bottom. Only the High Priest could go behind that curtain, and he could do so on only one day of the year.
That curtain separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple; it separated heaven from the earth; it separated a Holy God from sinful human beings. It was believed that if any other person on any other day had the temerity, audacity, or stupidity to wander behind the curtain, they would be incinerated.
When Jesus died, the curtain was torn, rent asunder, cast aside. Only God could tear that curtain from top to bottom—not any person, not any elaborated rituals, not even the High Priest.
What does the tearing apart of that curtain mean to us? Everything. The tearing of the curtain means that through what Jesus has done for us, we now have total freedom to approach God with the trust of being saved and not with fear of being destroyed.
Today I encourage you to avail yourselves of what Jesus has given to you—and that is total access to God. Whoever we are—go. Wherever we are—go. Whatever we’ve done—go. Whatever we need—go. No more intermediaries. No more particular days. No more extraordinary places. No more elaborate ceremonies. No more coming to God under threats and prohibitions—just go. Go to God, with Jesus at our side, trusting that the One who tore that curtain has torn away all barriers between His love and us.
- Do you actually believe that you can go to God at any time, trusting that Jesus has given you total access to God?
- Even though Jesus tore away the curtain that had once separated us from God, we can sometimes try to erect our own new curtains and barriers. Have you ever done so? If so, how come?
- Although our total access to God should give us great comfort, that doesn’t invite us to approach God casually. How well do you hold in tension the great comfort that God desires for us and the great awe that God deserves from us?