And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed His last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. (Mark 15:37-38)
Curtains are for hiding things. They cover up windows when we don't want people to look in, or block hospital beds when people are being treated. God Himself had the Israelites hang a curtain between the main part of the temple and the Holiest Place, the spot where God Himself was present in a special way to care for His people, Israel.
We have learned to respect curtains—to stay out unless invited. Only one man was invited behind God's curtain, and only once a year for a single job—to make atonement with the blood of a pure sacrifice for the sins of God's people. The rest of the time, to enter was death. Stay away—God is holy, and we are not—that was the message of the temple curtain.
What must they have thought, those priests on duty, when they saw the curtain torn in two?
They could not know that, just at that moment, God's own Son had breathed His last—had allowed His own body to be torn and broken for us on the cross, as the perfect, pure sacrifice that would bring us back to God. The way to God was open now—not just for a single man, not just for priests, but for everyone. In Jesus, we are now welcome.
Jesus opened up the way. As the writer of Hebrews said, "We have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh" (Hebrews 10:19b-20). The separation is gone. We can approach the Holy God—because He has approached us first, in Jesus Christ our Savior.
THE PRAYER: Draw me near to You, Holy Father, through Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
* What curtain do you remember most vividly, and why?
* Are you ever nervous about approaching God?
* Does it help to remember that Jesus is always at your side?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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