The following reading is part of a larger Easter reading plan. If you would like to download the full, free Easter reading plan, you can do so here.
but your iniquities have made a separation
between you and your God, and
your sins have hidden His face from you
so that He does not hear.
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit.
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
The Old Testament Law that was given by God to God’s people outlined in detail their means of relationship with God. God is holy; we, His people, are not. Because of our unholiness (sin), we cannot stand in the presence of God. But in the Old Testament God provided a way for His people to meet with Him: He would meet with a priestly representative of the people in the Holy of Holies. The priest would somberly walk behind the thick curtain that separated the ouster courts of the temple from the Holy of Holies. He would bring a sacrifice into the Holy place, and would offer it on behalf of the people. God agreed to look upon the sacrifice, pour out His just wrath for the sin of people on the sacrifice, and extend mercy and grace to His people as a result. This was the Law of God, and it was itself a grace.
On the cross, Christ became the perfect and final sacrificial Lamb. He was the perfect Lamb of God, and in His death He experienced the full breadth of God’s wrath over our sin. As He breathed His last, the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the outer courts of the temple – the place non-priests like you and I were allowed – was torn from top to bottom. This was no mistake! In Christ’s death He opened the way for sinful mankind to be in relationship with God. No longer are we confined to the outer courts of His presence, but welcomed in, through Christ, as sons and daughters of God!
It could seem that Jesus did away with the Law of God, but He did nothing of the kind. The Law was always meant to point the people toGod and to the coming of the Messiah. And in His death and resurrection, Jesus fulfilled everything the Law was pointing to, everything God has promised His people. Just as He said.
The curtain separated the people from the place where God dwelt in the temple. Thank God that through Jesus’ death we are no longer separated from Him, but are welcome in His presence.