Today we are reading from Mark 15:33-41:
33 When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” 36 And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”
40 There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.
There are many things about this passage that we could stop and reflect on today.
We could talk about what it means for Jesus to say that it is finished. His work is done.
We could talk about His quotation of Psalm 22 – my God, why have you forsaken me, and how this is actually a Psalm of victory, not defeat.
We could talk about the women who remained and who gathered there, bravely, after all the disciples but for John ran away.
But for me, I am struck by the tearing of the curtain in the Temple. This was the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple, and now it is torn. Now, instead of being separated off where no one could enter, anyone could walk into the Holy of Holies. Now, anyone could have access to the presence of God.
The curtain was torn. And the separation between God and His people is no more. Now the effect and the curse of sin have been paid for and defeated. We are now, through the work of Jesus, forgiven and brought home.
No longer are we separated from God. No longer are estranged. No longer are outside, looking in. The curtain was torn. We are ushed into the presence and the glory of God. We are brought into God’s glory.
We are forgiven. We are restored. We are saved.
All because of what Jesus has done. All because the curtain was torn. All because of the cross.
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