“And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split” (Matthew 27:51).
As we read the Bible, sometimes things escape our attention. When we read the crucifixion account in the four gospels, we witness the horror and human spectacle of the cross. But other things resulted from His death. For example, the curtain separating the holy place and the most holy place was torn in two. Moreover, it was torn from top to bottom, torn by God. This curtain separated man from the presence of God. The high priest entered it once a year to offer atonement for the people (see Hebrews 9:7).
Of course, these ceremonies pointed to a greater reality. They served as shadows of greater truths yet to come. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, man can now enter into the very presence of God.
Notice where the curtain was torn, from top to bottom. God did the tearing, as only He could. Man cannot contribute to salvation because salvation is of grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our best attempts at righteousness fall woefully short, resembling a polluted garment (Isaiah 64:6). Since Jesus lived a perfect life without sin (1 Peter 2:22; 2 Corinthians 5:21), He alone was qualified to die on our behalf.
Followers of Christ now have access to God:
“For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18).
In fact, we do not need to make a pilgrimage to a sacred altar or temple in order to find God. We simply come to Him, and He accepts us. He actually commands us to draw near to Him:
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).
“In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him” (Ephesians 3:12).
Because of Christ, we get an audience with God whenever we pray. Knowing this, we should pray more often and rejoice in this great privilege.
The world without Christ lumbers along with their man-made religion and attempts to reach God through self-effort. God has granted us access to Him because of the once-for-all sacrifice of His beloved Son.
“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
Posted on Wed, April 12, 2017
by Diane Hultgren