The events at the end of Luke happen one right after another. There is no time lapse like some of the other stories within the various gospels. The last week of Jesus’ life –Passion Week– plays out like a drama with emotion, hurt, pain, and reality happening every second.
We find Jesus beaten, bloodied, bruised, and hanging on a cross as an example to those who have half the mind to claim themselves as God.
But there is something different about him. Darkness has been swirling around this whole act, but in this scene it crescendos. Luke observes that an uncharacteristic darkness is over the whole land from noon to three in the afternoon.
At the end of his life, Jesus raises up and delivers His spirit into the hands of God; in that moment the veil of the temple is torn from top to bottom.
This is no ordinary bed sheet. This veil was anywhere from 30-40 cubits (1 cubit equals 20 inches) tall and 4 inches thick. It was the veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple. It was the curtain that created the division for where God dwelt and where men dwelt. It was the dividing wall.
At the point of Jesus’ death, this dividing curtain is torn in two. But why is this seemingly insignificant detail addressed in three of the four gospels?
Look at it this way: For thousands of years, God had chosen to speak directly to his people through single individuals (through leaders, prophets, etc.). When Jesus died, and His blood covered our sin; that allowed God to break out of the cage that our sin had put Him in. Jesus’ death on the cross opened the door to for man to be able to encounter God again. The tearing of the veil symbolized that Jesus’ sacrifice was the complete atonement for our sin; that His sacrifice restored the relationship that had been severed by sin. Jesus’ death unleashed God into the world again, but this time, for more than just a select few. This time it was for everyone.
Therefore, God was not confined to the Holy of Holies anymore. He was not restricted to be the God of just the Jewish people. He was not localized to one city on earth. Jesus’ death allowed God to move freely across the hearts of all men.
Gone were the days of blood sacrifices; the final blood sacrifice had been accepted. Gone were the days of pilgrimages to the Holy City; God moved wherever his people were. Gone were the days of God indwelling a temple made by human hands; God dwelt in the temple that was man’s soul.
With Jesus’ death grace was unleashed. Love was freed. Sin was conquered. Man was redeemed.
Praise be to God that our sin no longer holds up the veil. Praise be to God that our relationship is restored. Praise be to God that He dwells in the heart of man. Praise be to God that He is no longer caged.
Praise be to God for Jesus