Hope seemed lost. The One who had said that he would save the Jewish people from Roman rule – that One now hung on a cross, having been tortured and sentenced to death for blasphemy. Why had a loving God allowed this to happen? All of the promises of salvation – was it all a hoax?
The people who had just a week prior shouted “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” were now screaming “Crucify Him!” Things seemed to go from bad to worse. Jesus was sentenced to death, and not just any death – death by crucifixion, which was a Roman execution method reputed to be tantamount to torture, the victim dying days later from exhaustion and asphyxiation.
After Jesus gave up His spirit (a voluntary death), the temple veil was torn in two, the earth quaked, rocks split, and graves opened up (no, really, read it for yourself!) The temple veil being torn in two has always been one of my favorites parts. Historically, Jewish priests were the only ones to go behind the veil to enter the Holy of Holies, where God dwelt. The high priests would offer sacrifices for the sins of the people, but only they were permitted to meet with God directly.
The temple veil being torn in two is an awesome symbol of the Son breaking down the barrier between the Father and his children. Because of Christ’s death, each of us has the incredible privilege of approaching the throne of God on our own, without going through an intermediary.
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we were, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16, NKJV)
Jesus became our High Priest, giving all of us access to God at any time, reuniting the creation with the creator. This plan, which had been set in place since the start of creation, was nearing its climax.
But at the time, that Friday seemed like the worst day in history.