Matthew 27:50-51, Hebrews 10:19-20

Mark Scholtz considers what Jesus did for us on the cross.

Mark Scholtz
Mark Scholtz

In the old Jewish temple there was a very thick curtain that separated a room called the Holy Place from a room called the Most Holy Place. The Most Holy Place was the earthly dwelling place of the presence of God. This temple configuration had been in existence since the time of Moses. The Most Holy Place, i.e. the Presence of God, was inaccessible to ordinary people and in fact inaccessible even to ordinary priests. Only the High Priest could go in there once a year. This physical curtain is what created the separation. The curtain of separation was just another reminder that man's sin had separated him from God.

Two thousand years ago Jesus was about to end this separation. He did it in the most spectacular way. As Jesus was breathing His last breath on the cross, Matthew records what happened:

'Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart.' (Matthew 27:50-51)

The tearing of the curtain was an act of God. It signalled the end of the Old Testament temple and the sacrificial system. A new curtain was put up, but this was a curtain of access not separation!

'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, through his flesh.' (Hebrews 10:19-20)

Access to the presence of God was now through a new curtain called Jesus! Anyone who makes Jesus Lord and Saviour has this access.

In a commercial airliner there's a curtain that separates business class from economy class. Business class is at the front of the plane and economy is at the back. When you're sitting in economy class, closer to the front of the plane, you can spend 12 hours of an international flight staring at the business class curtain. You know there's amazing stuff going on behind that curtain! You know the food is better. They're eating pasta made by an Italian chef while you're eating macaroni and cheese. It's the type where all the cheese comes up on your fork in a blob with the first bite and then you're left with the tasteless pasta below. You know that they are enjoying those nice hot lemon scented towels and bigger TV screens. While you're struggling to get comfortable, the business class passengers are lying flat. You know there's amazing stuff going on behind that business class curtain, but you don't have access to it. You don't dare even peak behind the curtain, because you're unauthorised.

Once you're in the air, the only way you can get into business class is if someone comes back and gives you their ticket, which no-one ever does on an aeroplane.

Hebrews 10 tells us that this is exactly what happened through Jesus. You were once sitting in economy class staring at the business class curtain. Jesus came out from behind the curtain and gave you a business class ticket. In essence He said, "Open that curtain boldly, you show your full price business class ticket, (which I paid for with my blood), and you sit down, push the button that makes the chair go flat and enter the place of rest I've prepared for you!"

Once we are there, we need to live and behave like someone who belongs in business class, from the overflow of love we have for the One who did all this for us! CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.