Holy Week Reflections: Saturday – The Temple Curtain

And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son’
Mark 15: 38 – 39

Before reading on, take time to read through the biblical text once more and think what it is saying to us.

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. – Luke 23: 44 – 45

In Luke’s Gospel this moment is moved forward so that it coincides not with Jesus’ death but with the darkness that falls over the whole land. Why do you think this was so?

The thick, colourful woven curtain that separated the inner and outer rooms of Israel’s Temple; the inner room called the Holy of Holies was the place of divine presence. It could be entered only by the high priest, once a year, when he brought sacrificial blood on the Day of Atonement.

According to Hebrews 9:8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary has not yet been disclosed as long as the first tent is still standing. Meaning God’s presence had not yet been disclosed.

Does this symbolism become clear to us – that the death of Jesus opened the way into the very presence of God, providing believers with an access which simply was not possible during Old Testament times? The writer of Hebrews says that, “since we [now] have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus……. Let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith” 10:19,22.

The torn curtain is a witness that because of Christ nothing stands in the way of reconciliation to God, which is what Matthew may be saying in his gospel (Ch 27: 51 – 53)

Now sit and enjoy the silence to reflect on what you have read without hearing John Wayne’s voice declaring “surely he was the Son of God!”

– David Baldwin