October 09, 2018

The Curtain of the Temple

Mark 15:33-39

With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

—  Mark 15:37-38

In the ancient temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, there was a curtain, embroidered with angels, which separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. The Most Holy Place became the dwelling place of God among his people. Only the high priest could go behind the curtain and enter into that place. There he could offer atonement for the sins of the people, once a year.

This taught the people that God is holy and that sinful people cannot stand in God’s presence. The curtain of the temple symbolized the separation between the holy God and sinful people. And if anyone violated this practice, they would die.

When Jesus died to atone for our sin, however, he cried out, “It is finished” (John 19:30)—and the curtain separating the people from God was torn in two. Jesus’ death on the cross accomplished everything necessary for our salvation. He became the ultimate High Priest for us, and his finished work reconciled us with God. Because of Jesus, the Spirit of God now comes to live in our hearts, making us his temple.

So we who were once “without hope and without God in the world . . . who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12-13). We have new life and the power of Christ by the Holy Spirit to live for God each day.

Lord, thank you for loving us and bringing us near to you in Christ, our Savior. Help us to live faithfully for you. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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