By Shawn Tomlin
Yesterday we talked about Maundy Thursday, how Christ washed the feet of the apostles and the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Today is Good Friday. The day of Christ’s suffering and death. How is that “good”? It’s “good” because it was the Father’s will for Christ to endure all the pain and die in order to redeem His people. Christ did so willingly, in accordance with the Father’s will.
Upon the death of Christ something happened in the Temple. Matthew 27:51 tells us, “And behold, the curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.” If we read on we can see even the dead were raised. Our focus is going to be on the curtain of the Temple.
First of all, what was the curtain for? Within in Temple you had an outer chamber, known as the Holy Place where the priests performed their daily duties. This outer chamber was separated by a curtain from the inner chamber, the Most Holy Place or Holy of Holies. Within the inner chamber the ark of the covenant was kept, the footstool of the heavenly throne. This was the dwelling place of YHWH among His people. Only once a year on the Day of Atonement, did the high priest enter, and he always did so with the blood of the sacrifice in order to sprinkle it within the inner chamber. The purpose of the curtain was to separate the Most Holy Place from everything else. It was the barrier between God’s unapproachable holiness and sinful flesh.
At the moment that Christ breathed His last, the chasm that separated sinful humanity from the Most Holy God was bridged with the bloody flesh of the Son of God.
Now that we understand what exactly the curtain was and its purpose, why did it tear in half upon Christ’s death? The answer is that at the moment that Christ breathed His last, the chasm that separated sinful humanity from the Most Holy God was bridged with the bloody flesh of the Son of God. Christ’s sacrifice and righteousness completely closed the gap between us and God.
Hebrews 8:11 speaks of the new covenant promise “they shall all know Me” and this simply couldn’t be done the way the nation of Israel was practicing. You can’t get to know anyone if their presence is hidden behind a curtain in a tent, but in Christ, being identified in Him, who is our High Priest, we are now free as believers to be in the presence of God and to call on His name.
The bloody sacrifice of Christ on that first Good Friday was an eternal sacrifice because “He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of His own blood, thus securing an eternal sacrifice” (Hebrews 9:12). Christ’s eternal sacrifice opened the way for all believers to approach God because Hebrews 10:19-20 says, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, His flesh.” Just as the curtain was torn in two in the Temple, Christ’s body was torn, shedding His blood, clearing the way to the Father for all who believe.
So today, as we remember what Christ has done for us, let us always bear in mind how precious the blood of Christ is. How we can approach God by walking a path made by the flesh and blood of Christ. O how “Good” was His death for us!
“The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.”