And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. (Matt 15:37-38)
The temple curtain that separated the most holy place and the presence of God from the people. No one was allowed in save the high priest once a year on the Day of Atonement, to offer the blood of sacrifice and incense before the mercy seat. It was a curtain woven together of selfishness, of hardheartedness and of pain. It was a reminder that no matter what we did, the gulf between human and divine was too much for us to span. Here is the thing though. God wasn’t satisfied with the state of our relationship. He didn’t want to be separated from us. He wanted to be with us. So Jesus came. He came to show God’s love for us. He came to save us not to condemn us. He came to set the captives free. He came to proclaim good news to the poor. He came to bring liberty to those who are oppressed.
Christmas came. Jesus was born. But the veil was still there.
He made water into wine and the veil was still there.
He healed a blind man, and a lame man, and the woman with the issue of blood and the veil was still there.
He forgave the sins of the woman caught in adultery, the lame man and the woman at the well and the veil was still there.
He cast demons out of a boy, and a woman and the man of the tombs and the veil was still there.
He raised Lazarus from the dead and the veil was still there.
But then, he did something the disciples didn’t understand, he said he had to go away.
He allowed himself to be crucified, he didn’t say a word in his own defense, he laid down his life on behalf of us, because the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit wanted to be with us; to have communion with us; to live forever with us to be our God and make everything right for us.
On that dark day we call Good Friday, he gave up his life, and the earth shook and the sky went dark and the veil of the temple that kept us apart was torn top down. The veil was 4 inches thick. The veil weighed 4 tons. The veil took 300 men to carry it. The veil we couldn’t get beyond. He tore it in half from the top to the bottom. And so it was that the gulf that separated God and humanity, and humanity from creation and humanity from from each other. The torn curtain says your sins are forgiven. The torn curtain says love wins. The torn curtain says the price has been paid. The torn veil is also a reminder of the day that is coming when the final veil will be removed and the new heavens and the new earth will be joined forever in the presence of God and everything will be made right. This is the day when what Jesus began on Good Friday and continued on Resurrection Sunday will be completed with the tearing apart of the second veil.