November 5

Text: Matthew 27:51

And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split . . .  (NASB)

There were four unusual events associated with Jesus’ death/resurrection.

  1. The darkness that lasted from noon until three in the afternoon

  2. The tearing of the temple curtain (from top to bottom)

  3. The earthquake

  4. After Jesus’ resurrection, the brief resurrection of dead holy ones who made appearances in Jerusalem.

Of these signs, the torn temple curtain would have immediate, special significance to the Jewish people.  When Peter spoke to those that Cornelius, a Roman centurion, gathered, he said, “You yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed” (Acts 10:37, NASB).  When Paul made his defense before King Agrippa II, he said, “For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner” (Acts 26:26, NASB).  Each of these statements (considered together) suggested that Jesus and his deeds were common, widespread knowledge inside and outside the Jewish population of Palestine.  It is likely (given human tendencies to talk about the unusual) that news of such tearing of the temple curtain spread quickly.  The fact that Matthew mentioned this event without explanation suggests the event was common 1st century knowledge in Palestine.

 The author of the book of Hebrews used the tearing of the separation curtain as a symbol.  It declared that people have direct access to God (Hebrews 9:6-12; 10:19-22).  The Jewish order was the individual, the animal sacrifice, the priest, the high priest, then God.  The universal covenant (that includes all people who place their trust in Jesus Christ) has this order: the individual, the blood of Jesus Christ, and then God.  With Christ’s sacrifice of himself, a person does not need another human to approach God on the person’s behalf.  The person can go directly to God on behalf of self.

Suggestion for reflection: As one who believes in what God did through Jesus, how often do you approach God?  (Read Hebrews 4:14-16.)

David's Home Page Previous Day Index Next Day

 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell