And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.Matthew 27:50-52a NIV
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open.
The curtain of the temple hung between the two primary rooms of the temple. The outer room was accessible by all of the priests in their daily service to God. But the inner room, or most holy place, was restricted to the high priest. And that only once a year on the day of atonement. On that occasion the high priest would take blood into the most holy place and sprinkle it on the mercy seat, making atonement for the sins of the people. This mercy seat, where the blood was sprinkled, represented God’s presence on earth. So this curtain that divided the two rooms served to restrict access to God.
The Curtain Was Torn
But at the moment of Jesus’ death, that curtain was torn from top to bottom. Matthew tells us the direction of the tearing to indicate that God had done it. God had removed the barrier that kept us from coming into his presence. And Matthew includes this detail here to show that Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, as an atoning sacrifice, had accomplished what the annual sacrifices could not. The way into God’s presence was now open to all people.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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