“On Your Mark”
The Way is Open (Chapter 15 Verses 33-41)
The tearing of the Temple curtain was as supernatural as was the darkness (v38). This was no flimsy effort of a curtain, it would be approximately eighty two feet in height and twenty four feet wide, it was woven and embroidered, so the thickness of the curtain corresponded with its height and width, in other words you would need more than a pair of pinking shears to cut it from top to bottom. And it was done by the unseen hand of God, exposing the holy of holies. To the priests who would be busy preparing the evening sacrifice at this time, it must have been a terrifying sight. Only once a year on the day of atonement was the high priest allowed behind this curtain, in order to sprinkle the blood for the cleansing of the nation. The significance of this miracle is that God has just made the Judaistic priesthood redundant, they have all been sacked. The sacrificial system was at an end, because the sacrifice to end all sacrifices had just been made, Jesus had just entered the holy of holies, the very presence of God with his blood, his all-atoning blood (Hebrews 9.3-15; Hebrews 6.19; Hebrews 10.19). Now there are some who would tell me that the Temple with its sacrifices are to be restored in the end times, can I suggest to you that that is in contradiction to what God has done and declared here? They are finished, and there is no further need for them, never, never ever.
The work of salvation continues beneath the Cross (v39). As the operation of the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to the soldier. Never forget even in the darkest situation God’s Spirit is always at work. And never write anyone off, not until you have all the facts at least. Was this centurion one of the men who blasphemously mocked Jesus? Did he command the smiting of the Lord? Well here he is making a confession of faith, which runs contrary to the faith of the Jews, “this was the Son of God”. Surely that is a revelation from heaven? I mean where else could he have got it (Matthew 16.15-17)? And is not that the crucial factor in salvation, a realization of who Jesus really is, is not that the transforming factor? You cannot, I defy anyone, to come to the realization that Jesus is God and that he died that death on the Cross for them, and their lives not be changed. This soldier will never be the same again as he bows before the inestimable goodness of God, displayed here before the whole world. Here is fruit springing from the Cross already.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)