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THE TRINITY - THE TORN CURTAIN Mark 15:38; Luke 23:44-46

 THE TORN CURTAIN   Mark 15:38; Luke 23:44-46

THE EVENT OF THE DEATH, BURIAL, AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT TO TAKE PLACE IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND. I WAS AMAZED WHEN I FOUND THAT THIS EVENT TOOK LESS THAN A HALF A PAGE IN MY BIBLE. BUT WITHIN THAT HALF PAGE OF WORDS IT IS AMAZING HOW MANY LIFE-CHANGING "SUB‑EVENTS" TAKE PLACE.

ONE SUB‑EVENT WHICH RECEIVES VERY LITTLE ATTENTION IN SERMONS IS THE TEARING OF THE CURTAIN WHICH OCCURRED AT THE MOMENT OF CHRIST’S DEATH (MATTHEW 27:51). THE CURTAIN OF THE TEMPLE WAS TORN IN TWO FROM TOP TO BOTTOM (MARK 15:38; LUKE 23:44‑46).

LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS CURTAIN.

  • WHAT WAS IT
  • WHAT DID IT SIGNIFY
  • WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF IT BEING TORN IN TWO.

BEFORE THE DEATH, BURIAL, AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS, THE JEWISH PEOPLE WORSHIPED IN THE TEMPLE. BUT EVERYTHING ABOUT THE JEWISH TEMPLE SEEMED TO TELL PEOPLE TO STAY AWAY. COURTS WERE SET ASIDE FOR THE WOMEN AND FOR GENTILES. THERE WERE LOTS OF STEPS LEADING UP TO THE TEMPLE ITSELF. INSIDE THE TEMPLE WERE TWO MAIN ROOMS--THE HOLY PLACE‑‑AND THE MOST HOLY PLACE WHICH ALSO IS CALLED THE "HOLY OF HOLIES". ONLY THE PRIESTS COULD ENTER THE HOLY PLACE AND ONLY IN A CERTAIN WAY AND AT CERTAIN TIMES CERTAIN PRESCRIBED RELIGIOUS FUNCTIONS.

THE VERY CENTER OF JEWISH WORSHIP TOOK PLACE IN THE SMALLEST AREA, THE HOLY OF HOLIES.

  • ONLY THE HIGH PRIEST COULD ENTER.
  • HE COULD ONLY ENTER ONE DAY EACH YEAR, THE DAY OF ATONEMENT.
  • HE MUST WEAR SPECIAL GARMENTS.
  • HE MUST BRING WITH HIM THE BLOOD OF A GOAT.
  • HE MUST SPRINKLE THE BLOOD ON THE GOLDEN MERCY SEAT WHICH WAS THE LID OF THE ARK OF COVENANT‑‑ WHICH CONTAINED A COPY OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.
  • ANYONE ENTERING THE MOST HOLY PLACE OTHER THAN THE HIGH PRIEST WOULD BE STRUCK DOWN DEAD.
  • IF THE HIGH PRIEST ENTERED ON ANY DAY OTHER THAN THE DAY OF ATONEMENT HE WOULD BE STRUCK DOWN DEAD.
  • IF THE HIGH PRIEST CAME WITHOUT THE BLOOD OF A GOAT, HE WOULD BE STRUCK DOWN DEAD.

EVERYTHING ABOUT THE WHOLE SYSTEM SCREAMED,

  • "STAY AWAY,"
  • "DO NOT COME NEAR,"
  • "YOU ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO COME ON YOUR OWN."

IT APPEARED THAT THE TEMPLE ITSELF WAS TRYING TO MAKE SURE THAT NO ONE COULD COME INTO GOD’S PRESENCE UNINVITED. SO IN CASE THE JEWS FORGOT ALL THE RULES OR DECIDED NOT TO ABIDE BY THEM, GOD ORDERED THAT A THICK CURTAIN BE HUNG BETWEEN THE HOLY PLACE AND THE MOST HOLY PLACE.

WHEN WE THINK OF A THICK CURTAIN, OUR MINDS FIRST OF ALL GO TO SOMETHING LIKE CURTAINS ON THE STAGE AT SCHOOL OR A THEATER. BUT THE CURTAIN OF THE TEMPLE WAS NOTHING LIKE EITHER ONE OF THESE. EXODUS 26:31 GIVES THE DESCRIPTION OF THE COLOR AND PATTERN.

. . . BLUE, PURPLE AND SCARLET YARN AND FINELY TWISTED LINEN, CHERUBIM WORKED INTO IT BY SKILLED CRAFTSMAN.

JEWISH WRITERS SAY THAT IT WAS 60 FEET LONG, 20 FEET TALL, AND AS THICK AS A MAN'S HAND. IT TOOK 300 MEN TO LIFT IT UP. IT WAS A MASSIVE CURTAIN--OR VEIL AS IT IS ALSO CALLED. THERE IS NO WAY THAT IT COULD BE TORN IN TWO BY HUMAN HANDS. ONLY GOD COULD TEAR A CURTAIN LIKE THAT. THAT IS WHY MATTHEW AND MARK BOTH MAKE THE POINT THAT IT WAS TORN "FROM TOP TO BOTTOM" SIGNIFYING THAT GOD HAD JUST DONE SOMETHING THAT ONLY HE COULD DO.

HEBREWS 10:19‑22 EXPLAINS THE SIGNIFICANCE. WHEN GOD TORE THE CURTAIN, IT WAS A MIRACLE THAT OPENED UP THE WAY FOR US TO APPROACH HIM IN HIS THRONE ROOM. AFTER THE CURTAIN WAS TORN,

  • WE HAVE EASY ACCESS TO GOD, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.
  • WE CAN GO DIRECTLY TO GOD ANYTIME AS LONG AS WE GO IN THE NAME OF JESUS.
  • WE CAN BE A MEMBER OF GOD'S OWN FAMILY.
  • WE CAN BE A CITIZEN OF HEAVENWI TH THE PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE.

HEBREWS 6:19‑20 EXPLAINS THE SIGNIFICANCE ANOTHER WAY. DID YOU NOTICE "AN ANCHOR FOR THE SOUL?' OF COURSE THAT ANCHOR IS JESUS. HE IS FIRM, AND HE CANNOT BE MOVED. THINK ABOUT QUALITIES OF AN ANCHOR. THE ANCHOR MUST BE FIRMLY IN PLACE. IF IT RESTS IN SAND, IT WILL NOT HOLD THE SHIP. OUR ANCHOR IS FIRM BECAUSE IT IS LODGED BEHIND THE CURTAIN IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD. JESUS, OUR HIGH PRIEST AND ANCHOR, CANNOT BE MOVED, AND NEITHER CAN A BELIEVER.

IN 1834, EDWARD MOTE WROTE A POEM THAT BECAME A FAVORITE GOSPEL SONG. WORDS IN THE SECOND STANZA ARE FROM THESE VERSES IN HEBREWS 6.

"WHEN DARKNESS SEEMS TO HIDE HIS FACE, I REST ON HIS UNCHANGING GRACE. IN EVERY HIGH AND STORMY GALE, MY ANCHOR HOLDS WITHIN THE VEIL."

THE REFRAIN OF THE HYMN “MY ANCHOR HOLDS” IS ALSO BASED ON THESE VERSES.

“And it holds, my anchor holds: Blow your wildest, then, O gale, On my bark so small and frail; By His grace I shall not fail, For my anchor holds, my anchor holds.”

A THIRD HYMN WITH THE SAME MESSAGE IS “WE HAVE AN ANCHOR.” THE WORDS OF THE REFRAIN ARE:

“We have an anchor that keeps the soul Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move, Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.”

SOMETIMES WE START TRYING TO CONTROL OUR OWN LIVES AND OUR OWN DESTINY. AS WE MOVE AWAY FROM OUR LORD, OUR ANCHOR, WE BECOME LIKE A SHIP BEING BLOWN ABOUT IN A STORM. BUT WHEN WE DEPEND TOTALLY ON JESUS, WE ARE SAFE FROM ANY STORM THAT LIFE THROWS AT US.

ROMANS 8:1‑2 SAYS THAT WHEN JESUS DIED, THE LAW DIED WITH HIM. I TRY TO IMAGINE WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE IF ALL I COULD DO WAS BRING AN ANIMAL OFFERING AND GIVE TO A PRIEST AND NEVER BE ABLE TO FEEL THE PRESENCE OF GOD AND HEAR HIS VOICE.

  • WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE TO LIVE UNDER THE OLD LAW
  • BEFORE GOD TORE THE CURTAIN
  • BEFORE HE REMOVED THAT BARRIER?

ON THE CROSS, JESUS CRIED OUT, "IT IS FINISHED.” HE WAS SAYING THAT GOD'S PLAN FOR REDEMPTION WAS NOW COMPLETE. THE AGE OF ANIMAL OFFERINGS WAS OVER. THE ULTIMATE OFFERING HAD BEEN SACRIFICED.

JESUS DIED ON THE CROSS TO REMOVE THE BARRIER OF SIN THAT KEPT US AWAY FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE FATHER. NOTHING WE CAN DO WILL EARN THIS BECAUSE IT IS A GIFT. ALL WE NEED TO DO IS ACCEPT THE GIFT.

IF YOU HAVE NOT ACCEPTED THIS GIFT YET‑THE TIME TO DO IT IS NOW ‑ YOU DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH TIME YOU HAVE--SO DON'T WAIT.

THE INVITATION

You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).

To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).

You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:

         Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed.

      Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.

      I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.

      Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.

                     In Your name I pray, Amen.