Good Friday. “Good”? A day in history known for the crucifixion of Jesus, a terrible death mechanism the Romans created to inflict torture and pain. Then why should this day be labelled as “Good Friday”? We read in the Gospels how Jesus was betrayed, mocked, shamed, beaten, crucified and died. Yet we call this day Good Friday.
Easter to the Christian faith, is a very important event. It is what the foundations of Christianity are based on. So to others they may not see the good in Good Friday but to those who believe in death and resurrection of Christ, the day his body laid on the cross limp was the day mankind was reconnected back to God, signified by the tear of the temple curtain.
What is the Temple Curtain?
[I would love to go in more detail about the temple and its significance and relevance to Jesus, but there would be so much to say, hopefully in a future blog post I can do this.]
The Temple had 3 main parts, the courts, The Holy Place and the Holy of Holies (the Most Holy Place) separated by a veil (or sometimes called curtain) where only the High Priest could enter once a year to atone for the sins of the nation through animal sacrifices. To atone means to make amendment for an offence.
The Holiest of Holy, separated by a curtain represented how sin placed a barrier between mankind and God as we were too unclean for the Most Holy. Even when High Priests entered once a year it was with careful and solemn preparations whilst the people in silence awaited his return, their hearts in prayer for the divine blessing. God seemed so distant for He is so Holy and we may look at ourselves in our wrongdoings, dishonest hearts and sin and feel so separate from Him.
But thank God it doesn’t end there! The curtain tore top to bottom! The curtain was not a light material but reportedly 60 feet high and 4 inches thick, adding to the significance of this event. It tore. Top. To. Bottom. The barrier between mankind and God was removed. Jesus’ sacrifice reunited us back to God, no longer separated by sin. All people now free to approach God because Christ, our High Priest, made the purest of sacrifice.
I love this so much because it shows the dedication God has to want to be with us. The truth is if we decided to turn our backs on God and deny ourselves this privilege of free access to Him, God doesn’t decrease in value, or weaken, it’s only ourselves we harm. Instead God’s endless mercy is magnified by giving us free access through Jesus.
Psalm 16 is a wonderful passage concerning how David found the secret of contentment in difficult times.Psalm 16:11
David understood that his life, both now and eternally was better with God than separate. David had confidence that in God’s presence he benefited from fullness of joy and given the highest and best pleasures. This is the only reality that can satisfy us completely and forever, above shallow entertainments and excitement that the world can offer.
So what should we do?
Hebrews 10:19-22 (NIV)
Yes! Let us Draw near to God. Let us enter the Most Holy Place with confidence. I sometimes struggle with drawing near to God because all I have to do is look at me and see my brokenness in sin, crying out “I am a sinner how can I be worthy to be in the presence of the Most Holy. Stained in crimson red how I can even touch the hem of Your white garment”. A cry I’m sure many would have cried out, of a sense of unworthiness and shame. But the passage tells us to enter with confidence because we are cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus. The Blood of Christ has covered our sins and removed all guilt and shame so we can rest at peace and draw near to God.
James 4:7-8 Drawing Near to God is not just the outward/ physical action where in James we are asked to wash our hands. But it’s also an inward action to purify our hearts, an invisible
act. It’s our hearts that directs us into the presence of God. We are called out for being “double-minded” saying we are divided between God and the world. Instead we are told to Resist the devil and come near to God. We cannot be in both sin and Glory but move from sin to glory.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. And he will draw near to you. All we need to do is take that step to God and he comes running towards us. What does Drawing near to God look like to you? It may be an outward action of spending more time with him prayer and studying the bible. Or an inward action of forgiving yourself, forgiving others, opening your heart to His will. Have a moment to reflect on how you can draw near to God starting today.