In the beginning there was no separation between man and God. When man sinned God withdrew his presence. This separation lasted until Jesus’ death on the cross. The restoration was signified by the tearing from top to bottom of the temple curtain. (See Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, and Luke 23:45)
One of the churches in our city does the Stations of the Cross each year on Good Friday. My wife and I find this experience a great way to begin Easter Weekend. The stations take you from the time they arrested Jesus to the crucifixion. I am always deeply moved as I walk from station to station remembering what Jesus went through. This year the tearing of the temple curtain stood out to me.
At the moment when Jesus said it is finished and gave up his spirit, the temple curtain was torn in such a way that it could only have been done supernaturally. The curtain was 16 feet tall and 4 inches thick, and it was torn from top to bottom. As it was torn it exposed the Holy of Holies, the place of God’s presence in the temple. No one could enter the Holy of Holies except the high priest, and he could only enter once a year after going through an extensive ritual of preparation.
Jesus gave up his life so we could be restored to the presence of God. We who are redeemed by Jesus’ blood can now enter into God’s presence. I was overwhelmed by the significance of the tearing of the curtain. God’s redemption of fallen man was complete, and he opened for us access to his presence. This tragic day had underlying glory. God’s created ones could now return to the closeness that Adam and Eve had with him before the fall. Jesus restored our relationship with his amazing act of sacrificial love. Can I do anything but spend eternity expressing gratitude to my blessed savior? Thank you Jesus!