Friday 29th March
“…suddenly the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle.”
So often Good Friday is looked at as a day of mourning and sadness. This sorrow is intensified in Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion Of The Christ. Although it is not a 100% accurate, it depicts the pain and sorrow that the disciples and Jesus’ friends and family must have felt whilst watching Jesus die a gruesome death on the cross. His slow and painful suffocation as he hung on the terrible cross would have been hard to witness. However I often wonder would we (they) be filled with the same bitter sorrow if Jesus hadn’t died and our relationship with the Father never reconciled? The simple truth is this…Jesus had to die! Yes of course death and pain is hard to watch and yes the sorrow we feel because Jesus HAD to die for our sins is hard to grasp. But sorrow should be temporary. In fact Good Friday should be a happy time. Why? Because Jesus finished the work He started. That is something we should celebrate not mourn.
If the disciples truly understood Jesus’ teaching about His death, then they would have understood that although He died, He would soon rise again. The last action on the cross as Jesus breathed His last breath, was that the temple curtain of the inner sanctuary was torn from top to bottom. The curtain was about 60 foot high and around 4 inches thick. This event was significant enough to be mentioned by both Matthew and Mark in their accounts of Jesus’ last days. Interestingly, in Matthew 27:51, it is recorded that the veil was torn from top to bottom, thus an act of God’s doing and not man! So what is the significance of the curtain tearing? The curtain was usually in front of the Most Holy Place only allowing access for the High Priest to enter the Holy of Holies. As the veil tore, access into the Holy of Holies (into God’s presence) was no longer limited to a yearly visit from the High Priest, but was accessible for all mankind because of the blood of Jesus and because of His sacrifice. Not only was this a momentous occasion for the Pharisees and High Priest but it was momentous for the whole of Humanity. Because the veil was torn, we now can enter God’s presence boldly and freely.
The writer of Hebrews beautifully describes it like this.. “..and so my dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter Heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By His death, Jesus has opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him….”
Praise God for Good Friday. Rejoice and do not mourn. For because of Jesus’ death we can be forgiven and enter into His holy presence.