“The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the
Temple was torn down the middle.”
Luke 23:45 New Living Translation
When you hear the words “Holy Place” what pictures come to your mind? It may be a church, with bright light streaming through stained-glass windows. For some, there’s no holier place than a snow-capped mountain. A sandy beach, gentle waves lapping at the shore, is surely a place where God’s holiness can be felt. Perhaps it’s a place in your own home, where you go to spend time with God snuggled on the couch. I’m sure that if I could chat with all of you, we could make arguments for hours about where the most holy place to meet with God is.
In the days when Jesus walked the dusty streets of Jerusalem, there was no question about where the holiest of all places was. That’s because all of God’s chosen people knew that the very Spirit of God actually had a place He lived. God’s Spirit and presence dwelled in the Most Holy Place. It was sort of God’s “bedroom”. He lived there, visited yearly by a member of the Holy Priesthood. The Levite priests dared enter the Holy of Holies only once a year, on the Day of Atonement. The barrier of God’s Most Holy Place, deep inside the Temple, was a special curtain.
Photo Credit: http://www.anneknorr.com
According to the book of Exodus, the curtain was a thick veil. It was made from twisted linen, blue, scarlet, and purple material. It was placed strategically to create a private, safe, earthly dwelling for the very Spirit of God to dwell in. This was God’s home. Behind the curtain, in the secret and Most Holy Place, was the closest He could get to His people without the shedding of Christ’s blood.
Easter was last weekend. Like I do each year, I told the story to my children, read it on my own, and tried to honor the work Jesus did on the cross during the Easter holiday. This year, more than any other, a specific scene gripped my thoughts. It was the moment, as Jesus breathed His last, and the curtain tore. The sacred veil was hanging as a separation between the Holy of Holies, and the inner courts of the Temple. This is the way God commanded it to be in the Old Testament.
But then, the miraculous happened.
Christ decided to change everything. When He died, the veil tore. This was the exact moment that the Spirit of the Living God broke free from His seclusion.
Can you imagine it?
How excited He must have been to be set free from His temporary home! Now He could live and dwell among His people! I can imagine God, poised just on the other side of the curtain, agony and joy filling His thoughts. His precious Son was about to die. But His children would be free to sit in their Father’s lap every day. Anywhere on earth! Can you feel His anticipation? This is what He had waited for. The instant Jesus stopped breathing, God’s Spirit was unleashed and literally tore through that curtain to get at His beloved children. God was full of agonizing joy. Can you feel the passion He has for you? Can we even begin to grasp the sacrifice He made that day? Can you feel His holiness wrapping its arms around you now?
The moment Christ entered into death, God’s Spirit broke free and entered into communion with His beloved people. Now there can be no debate about where the most Most Holy Place is.
It’s on a crowded street-corner. It’s in a bar. It’s at church. His presence is at a theme-park, in a grocery store, in the middle of a barren desert, and at your kitchen table. He is allowed, because of the sacrifice of Christ, to literally meet you anywhere. Praise God.
Easter is over until next year. But let’s never forget that the work Christ did on the cross benefits us every moment we are alive! We are no longer kept from our Father! We are free to commune with Him every day, in any place we like. Let’s thank Him right now for that privilege and never forget the price that was paid for it.
“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.”
Writing in answer to His call,