I was reading Mark 15 this morning, Peter’s account of Jesus’ crucification as told through Mark. It occurred to me that Peter set down the facts pretty much without much emotion: Jesus was hung on a cross, people mocked him, Pilate’s sign “King of the Jews” made the chief priests really mad, the sky darkened, people thought Jesus was calling for Elijah, then he died.
Concise and to the point.
Mark even includes a sentence that is easily overlooked: “Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom”. (vs 38) Nothing more is said of this event in the book of Mark. Just the fact that it happened.
That blows me away. God ripped that veil in two like I might tear a piece of paper.
Have you ever held a mortgage or a car loan? You are enslaved to that piece of paper that holds the terms of the agreement. You think about it every month as you write that check, chipping away at the debt with every payment.
Then, one day you write the last check. The house or the car is finally yours. Debt paid! Did you take your copy of the mortgage and rip it in two? How did that feel? Did you experience a sense of freedom, relief, joy?
Paid in full! That house, or that car, is mine!!!
I think that’s a little how God must have felt when he was finally able to rip that curtain apart. That curtain separated him from us. God could not have easy access to us until that curtain came down. But Jesus died on that cross, paid the full price, and now there is no more curtain. Until today I don’t think I ever considered the significance of that from God’s point of view.
What joy he must have experienced as he felt and heard that material rip apart.
Yes, the ripping of that curtain allows us to approach the throne of God. But it also allows God to live in us, walk with us, talk to us and guide us in a personal, precious way. God created us to fellowship with him, but sin separated us. In the Old Testament we read that God instructed Moses to put up a curtain so that we could get as close to God as possible while we still owed our debt. He could only communicate with his people through the prophets. And there were years when God didn’t communicate at all.
But when Jesus paid the price… in full… there was no need for the curtain. I think God must have been pretty excited about that.
As we prepare to celebrate Easter, Jesus death on the cross and his resurrection, let’s also be aware of the privilege that is ours through the ripping apart of that veil. God has access to me and I to him because my sin debt is paid.
Dearest Father, thank you for occasionally letting us in on what you are feeling. Sometimes we think it’s all about us and we forget that you have a stake in our lives, too. I thank you for Jesus, for his death on the cross, for what his sacrifice gives me. But let me remember what it gave you, too. You love us so completely. For thousands of years your dealings with us were from behind the curtain. It must have brought you great joy to rip that curtain in two. Thank you for wanting to walk with me so much. May I never take this privilege for granted.