Our society is good at sweeping away the reality of death. I think that’s why COVID-19 has caused so much fear—it’s brought to the fore something we try to avoid. And today, our reading is all about death—Jesus’s crucifixion.
In fact, this was the ultimate goal of his life – his death. The whole of Jesus’s life had been leading to the point where he, the “King of the Jews” (but really, King of EVERYTHING), faced death—our death.
Hanging on the cross, the mockery continued. They dared Jesus to save himself, something he could have easily done. He was not forced to die, but he willingly laid down his life.
Hours later, he destroyed the need for the temple. He fulfilled the role of Messiah, enabling salvation to be poured out to all who believe. When they shouted, “save yourself,” little did they know that his aim was to save everyone BUT himself.
Did you notice what happened while Jesus was dying?
There was darkness. Darkness is used throughout the Old Testament to symbolise the pouring out of God’s judgment.
Jesus was forsaken by his Father. There he bore our sin, and there, he faced God’s anger.
Immediately when he died, the thick temple curtain that separated the presence of God from humanity was SPLIT. I love how God makes clear that it was HE who tore it! It was torn from the TOP to the bottom.
This curtain represented the barrier between perfect holiness and our impurity. Jesus’s death enabled that division to be TORN UP.
Through Jesus, we can now have full access to the Holy of Holies—to God himself. In fact, God himself WANTS us, LOVES us that much, that he went so far as to send Jesus to face our death.
Today, because of Jesus, we can have certainty that our sins have been paid for and we have eternal life.
Today, because of Jesus, we can live free from condemnation and fear.
Today, because of Jesus, we can pray and know he is near and hears us.
Praise Jesus for dying the death that we deserve, so that we can have a relationship with the everlasting God!
One final thing to note here is the centurion. He’s a surprising person to include. A Roman Gentile, leader of a big company of soldiers, and the one who had ensured Jesus was crucified. He saw how Jesus died and proclaimed that he was who he had said he was—the Son of God.
The most unlikely of men saw Jesus’s death and was convinced.
And he is a reminder to us today, no one is too far from believing and proclaiming that Jesus is the Son of God! No one.
Who could you pray for today who seems the most unlikely to become a follower of Jesus?
“Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.”
Mark 15:37-38 NLT