For a number of years, I attended a church which had an amateur theatrical group attached to it. The group generally produced two plays a year. When a performance was to be given, there was always much excitement in the audience waiting for the curtain to be opened. Would the actors (all of whom were friends!) acquit themselves well? What was the staging like? Would it add to the presentation? When the curtain was drawn back, we were able to see and hear for ourselves.
Matthew 27:50-51a – And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. (NIV)
The statement, "the curtain of the temple was torn in two", seems to be such an insignificant one, but I have always found it to be of immense importance to me. The curtain in the temple surrounded the Holy of Holies, the place where God could be found. But only the high priest could enter there, and then only once a year! In effect, the curtain separated God from His people.
Jesus' death changed all that. Jesus' death made God accessible! I think that's great news! No longer is it the prerogative of only the high priest to enter God's presence. No longer do I — do we — have to sit in the audience staring at a closed curtain. Now any one, including me, can enter God's presence, can approach the mercy seat, and receive God's mercy directly.
I have found this passage over the years to be of great help in keeping me focused. Whenever I begin to doubt, whenever I realize I'm straying from the way, knowing that God is there for me on a personal, one-to-one basis brings me back to Him. He is also there for each of us, giving us personal assurance and an encouraging message to pass on to others.
Prayer: Dear God, we are humbled and thankful that You brought Your Son Jesus to us to show us the way back into Your presence. We are truly sorrowful that He had to be sacrificed for our sake, but we rejoice with You at His resurrection. Help us to explain to others in whatever way possible the good news that through His death and resurrection You became accessible to all, and Your forgiveness flows out to all who believe. Through Jesus Your Son, we ask it. Amen.
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