“And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”” Mark 14:37-39
“And the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”
I have heard teachings and songs on this verse that suggest that the tearing of the curtain was symbolism ofan act of God removing the barriers to Him and giving us full access. Yet this took place on Good Friday at the moment of the death of Jesus when our access to God was slaughtered. There are Scriptures that point to our access to God,, however I do not believe this is one.
In Genesis 37:33-34 when Jacaob sees the multi color coat of Joseph that was dippedin goats blood and believes his son has been killed by a wild animalthe passage states, “He recognized it and exclaimed, “It is my son’s tunic! A wild animal has eaten him! Joseph has surely been torn to pieces!” Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourned for his son many days.”
“Then Jacob tore his cloths”
In 2 Samuel 1:11 when David finds out that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle, the passage states, “David then grabbed his own clothes and tore them, as did all the men who were with him. They lamented and wept and fasted until evening because Saul, his son Jonathan, the Lord’s people, and the house of Israel had fallen by the sword.”
“David the grabbed his own clothes and tore them. As did all the men who were with him.”
In Mark 14:60-65Jesus declares that he is the Christ, the Son of God. When the high priest hears this apparent ultimate blasphemy the passage states, ” And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death”
“And the high priest tore his garments”
All throughout the Old Testament whenever one experienced the death of a loved one, a holy man, or there was an act of blasphemy the person would express that by grabbing his shirt or garments at the neck and tearing them downward . It was a symbolism of the extreme grief, agony and anger at the event that occurred that went in to the heart and soul of the grieving person.
Good Friday was the day we as Christians lost the battle. Satan, sin and evil won the day and slaughtered our savior. We need to embrace this and not try to insert some nice thing like the tearing of the curtain gave us access of to God. Mark, in writing his Gospel account of the crucifixion and death of Jesus, was not portraying an event that gave us access to God, but removed it. The temple was the dwelling of God. And the temple curtain was his “clothing.” The tearing of the curtain represents the mourning and grief of God! All those Jews who read this account would instantly assume this tearing of the vestments. Especially when Mark specifically states the curtain was torn from “the top to the bottom.” Indicating how clothing was torn.
This passage should be read as God in extreme grief and anguish at the death of his son tearing his vestments and screaming in agony “MY son!!! You Killed my Son!!! And falling to his knees in mourning.. And the earth shook and the sky was darkened as God wept.
This passage is an important one in respect to our understanding of God. As a pastor, if someone approaches me with a tragedy: the death of a child or a loved one. And asks where was God when this happened? I will refer them to this passage and say he was tearing his vestments and mourning their death along with you. When and event happens like this that shakes you to the core and in extreme grief you fall to your knees and cry out, know that you have a God who ‘s cry of agony was heard throughout the heavens and understands your grief and is there with you.
In the crucifixion of Jesus we see the suffering and agony of the son out of extreme love for us. In the tearing of the temple curtain we see that the suffering and agony, the sacrifice for our behalf out of deep love for us impacted the very core of God.
Today as we continue are time of reflection and mourning on our journey to Easter, I want you to reflect on and be assured, that no matter what situations you find yourself in today, have experienced in the past, or may present themselves in the future, that drop you to your knees and all you can do is scream and cry out, you have a God the Father that cried out and tore his robes, and God the Son who cried out from the cross, that are kneeling down with you.
To which I say Praise be to God!!!
Please share any reflections you have in the comment box below.