The Torn Curtain - by Greg Steggerda

A lot of strange things happened when Jesus died, and they all tell us something. But the thing that strikes the deepest for me is the tearing of the temple curtain. Here’s how Luke relates it, Luke 23:44-46: 

“It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.”

I was always taught that the temple curtain referred to here was the one that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple. The Holy of Holies was that place where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, a place that only one priest could enter only once a year. The place where God made himself present among the Jews.

With Jesus’ death, that barrier was now gone. The Jews didn’t know it yet, but the limitations on approaching God were gone too. Jesus had done what he came for; he paid the awful debt that humans owed God. He took care of the thing that kept us from God; he mended the broken relationship so that now we can freely go to God whenever we want.

Here’s the problem: sometimes we go a long time without going to God. What a shameful squandering of the greatest gift of the cross.