“The veil of the temple was torn in two.”
The veil of the Temple was designed by God; and it was beautiful. Moses describes it for us in Exodus 26:31
“You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim.”
As beautiful as this curtain was, its beauty would be overshadowed by its purpose. The veil was not designed as a work of art to be gawked at, but as a symbol of the separation between man and God. Even the angels portrayed on the veil spoke not of accessibility, but of separation. Remember the angels that were posted outside the garden? They carried flaming swords and were set as guards to keep Adam and Eve from entering the garden (Genesis 3:24). What about the angels around God’s throne? We read, they constantly sing of His holiness; a character trait of God making it impossible for sin to remain in His presence. As much as man needs God, and as much as God loves man, our sin stands in the way. Access to God is barred by sin, and the veil was a constant reminder of that.
As a result of the cross, all that would change. Jesus was not dying for Himself, He was dying as a sacrifice. By doing so, He was paving a way for sinful man to come to a Holy God. The tearing down of the veil represents the access that is available to all mankind through Christ. While it remains true that we are all sinners, it is also true that there is now a way to God. What a joy must have filled the heart of Luke as He penned these words,
“ . . . and the veil of the temple was torn in two.”
He took advantage of the access. What about you? The cross is not the end, it is the beginning. Through it, we have access to the throne, and to the presence of God.
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
Questions for Luke 23
- Who was Jesus led to next to be questioned?
- What was Pilates conclusion concerning Jesus?
- Why did Pilate send Jesus to Herod?
- Why was Herod glad to see Jesus?
- What was happening while Herod was questioning Jesus?
- Jesus was ultimately sent back to Pilate and Pilate wanted to let Him go. But the voices of the chief priest and the scribes and their accusations would ultimately prevail. Who was released instead of Jesus?
- Who helped Jesus carry the cross up to Calvary?
- What was the difference between the two criminals and Jesus?
- Who else recognized this difference when Jesus died?
- Who went to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus?
- Everything in history pointed to this moment, when the Son of God would be crucified on a cross as the once and for all sacrifice for sin. The significance of this chapter is huge. Take some time and consider the events leading to the death of Jesus. As you do just thank God for His unending love demonstrated through the giving of His Son for you. Now take a moment and read Romans 5:8.