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. Matthew 27:50-51
The temple curtain blocked access to the Holy of Holies, the place representing God’s presence. No one could pass through this veil except for the high priest and then only once a year and after much preparation and purification. This barrier protected a sinful people from a Holy God in whose presence they could not survive.
When Jesus died, this massive curtain was torn in two. Here are some thoughts on its significance.
Access. Through Christ’s sacrifice we may now approach God. The sin that would destroy us has been paid and we can enter into His presence.
Intercession. We no longer need to rely on human priesthood. Jesus is our High Priest and He alone is our intermediary.
All God. Both Matthew and Mark note that the veil was torn from top to bottom, an odd direction and interesting detail. Beginning above and descending shows it was done by God. Man had no part in it. We don’t earn in any way the privilege of His presence.
Messiah. The curtain may represent the Messiah Himself. It is only through Him we have access to God. The killing of Christ’s body as a sacrifice and the tearing of the curtain now opens the way to His presence.
Heavens opened. The thick curtains were adorned with the constellations. It creates a picture of the very heavens being ripped open at that momentous hour. God reached down into His creation and took the consequences of our sin upon Himself.
When I pray, I can picture the torn curtain and entering the very throne room of God. There is no hiding veil, no separation. My sins have been paid and I can call upon His mercy and grace. Let me never take for granted the power of the torn curtain.
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16