44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon,45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[a] When he had said this, he breathed his last.
For three hours, Jesus, wrists and ankles pierced through by coarse spikes of metal, hung on a cross of wood, alternately shifting his weight from his feet to his wrists, exchanging the pain of one position for the breathlessness of the other.
For three hours, Jesus listened to the mocking of not only the soldiers, but of passersby, rising in angry tones above the weeping of his mother…and of his friends.
For three hours, Jesus stayed true to his Father's will…did he think about calling down ten thousand angels? Did he think about stilling the tongues of the mockers? Did he think about blinding the soldiers?
…and what brought about the darkness?
Depending on the translation read, the darkness may have already been casting a solemn, terrifying note upon the morning when at the stroke of noon, "the sun was darkened" (NKJV), "the sun's light failed" (ESV)…it failed. What did that look like? What did that feel like? When the sun should be shining at its very brightest in the middle of the day, it fails. Did it flicker like a lightbulb and go dark? Did it fade with the dying breath of the One who was present at the moment of light's awakening? Did it shrink into the surrounding dark of space, hiding from the agony of the Creator of all, who tied His own hands and sent His Son to suffer like the lowest of the low…this Son, "the radiance of the Sh’khinah, the very expression of God’s essence" (Hebrews 1:3a, CJB)…fading...
Then, as Jesus breathed his last breath, the very symbol of humanity's separation from God was torn in two. The 60 feet high by 30 feet wide by 4 inch thick veil that "separated the holy of holies where God dwelt from the rest of the temple where people dwelt" (Andrew Wommack Ministries) was torn in two. No could human hands have rent the perfectly woven veil from top to bottom; only God, Himself, could have done so.
Only God, Himself, could end the separation between God and humanity. Only God, Himself, could expose the Holy place, making the dwelling place of the Most High God accessible to sin-soiled humanity.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)
In a beautiful symbolism, a depth of meaning no priest or prophet could have ever imagined, God's plan was fulfilled…and humanity can approach the throne of GOD with confidence and full assurance of faith.
I think that's my favourite part of the narrative, that tearing of the veil from top to bottom. So incredible, both from a human standpoint and also the spiritual significance. I guess religious and tradition-wise, too, it was a pretty big deal. In one motion, making the priestly office and ministry obsolete!
Such beautiful symbolism in this passage.
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