Today’s post is an excerpt of chapter 12 of my latest book, Newness of Life, recently released on Amazon. Get your copy this week for only $1.99!
To me the most powerful Bible story of a time to tear happened on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. Three of the gospel accounts feature this detail:
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:44-46
The curtain of the temple separated the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place. The high priest entered the Most Holy Place once per year, on the Day of Atonement, to make a sacrifice for the sins of all the people. No one could enter this area except the high priest. He had to follow many regulations before entering upon risk of death. The Most Holy Place was essentially cut off from God’s people, a no-access area.
When Jesus died, the thick, heavy curtain was torn from top to bottom, as Matthew records. Why top to bottom? Because it was God’s time to tear. He came down to us through Jesus, and made Himself fully accessible through Jesus’ once-and-for-all sacrifice.
Have you ever felt like God was far away? That you couldn’t approach Him without jumping through hoops or walking on eggshells? That God may strike you down for not being good enough, smart enough, or holy enough?
Because the curtain was torn, we don’t have to perform any rituals to earn God’s favor anymore. We don’t have to keep track of how many servant events we attend. We don’t need to mentally check off the times we attend church or the donations we send to charities. We don’t have to rack up shelves of Bible studies and wear crosses around our necks to prove our commitment to God.
We have full access to unveiled grace through Jesus, and we simply must accept Jesus as Lord and Savior to receive it.
The book of Hebrews paints a beautiful picture of how Jesus is now a high priest on our behalf. I love how these verses speak of the curtain:
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever. Hebrews 6:19-20
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings. Hebrews 10:19-22
Because God chose a time to tear His own Son, we have hope, confidence, assurance, and faith. Our hearts are mended and reconciled to Him. If you live out your seasons with this knowledge, you will gain the peace, joy, and love your heart seeks, and your trust in God’s timing will be strong. And no one will pay attention to your mended seams; they will see the rivers of life running through you instead.
Questions for reflection: (please comment below)
What does the tearing of the temple curtain mean to you?
Here are links to free resources that will help you in the online Bible study or your personal study of Newness of Life:
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My new book will help you apply Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 so you can understand God’s plan in your current season.
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV
No matter what season you are in, God is teaching you valuable lessons to grow your faith and trust in Him. We will discover what God is saying through the different times and activities we traverse.
I look forward to hearing how God is working in your current life season. I hope you will join in the fun and discussion on the online Bible study.
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