March 27, 2014

God's New Temple

Mark 15:38; Luke 23:44-46

The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
—Mark 15:38


While Jesus suffered on the cross, it may seem that God the Father was passive. But as soon as the Son’s sacrifice was complete, the earth shook, rocks split, and the temple curtain tore from top to bottom. (See Matthew 27:51.) God was on the move.

What is the significance of the torn temple curtain? Jesus, our ultimate High Priest, atoned for our sins with his own body, represented by the curtain (Hebrews 10:20). When he gave up his body to death, the curtain tore, and the Most Holy Place in the temple (God’s dwelling place among his people) became open to all peoples.

Further, Jesus had announced, “&lsquoDestroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.’ … But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead [on the third day], his disciples recalled what he had said” (John 2:19-22). So by his death and resurrection, Jesus laid down his own life for us and set up a new temple, his body of believers throughout the whole earth.

Now, because of Jesus’ finished work “once for all” (Hebrews 10:10), we do not have to enter a building to find God. God is with us always in Jesus through his Holy Spirit.

Everyone has equal access to God in Jesus. Every day we can enter the holiness of God. Our hearts can become God’s home. So let’s draw near to God every day. He is always near (see Isaiah 46:13; 55:6; Philippians 4:5; James 4:8).

Thank you, Lord, that we can find you because you are near. Thank you for finding us. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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