“With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God!’” (Mark 15:37-38 NIV)
For most Catholics, access to the Heavenly Father comes through saints, the Virgin Mary, or the priest. For Muslims, Allah is a distant god who communicates only through the Prophet Mohammed and the Koran. A relationship with Allah will only be decided after death if the heavenly scales tilt in favor of good deeds done on earth. For ancient Judaism, it was only the High Priest who had access to God, and then, only once a year as he entered the Holy of Holies in the Temple to offer sacrifices on the Day of Atonement for the sins of the Jews.
It is the latter that makes the torn Temple curtain between the Holy of Holies and the Court of Priests so significant. At the death of Jesus, which served as the ultimate sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 10:11-14), the High Priest was relieved of his duties as the intermediary between God and man. Indeed, Jesus through His death (and His Resurrection that validated His sacrifice), opened the way for direct access to God by becoming the sole mediator between God and man (I Timothy 2:5-6). We don’t need a priest, the Virgin Mary, Saint Patrick, or any other mediator to gain access to God. Only Jesus.
At the moment of Jesus’ last breath, the Temple curtain tore and a new era began. But since that time, men have been trying to turn back the clock, to go back to the olden days where God is distant and we must continue to rely on others to mediate on our behalf. However, the truth remains that Jesus is the only mediator we need and the curtain is torn and no longer needed.
Today, heed the call and promise of the Hebrew writer: “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). He is waiting, and through Jesus, nothing stands in your way.
© Jim Musser 2013