How a Curtain is Important to the Easter Story

I am a huge fan of details. I love the "extra" layer they add to things, the subtle nuance they bring to stories, pictures, life.

One of the things I most appreciate about the Bible is the amount of details God wove together for us. There are so many details and none of them contradict one another. It's an incredible accomplishment that can only be done by God.

Jesus knew how important the details were. Before he died, he made sure to draw attention to the details...details that would be recognized by those present at his crucifixion...details that would be recognized 2000 years later. This is one of my favorite details:

“Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead.” Matthew 27:50-52

Why was that detail so important to know? Why was it so important to record that a curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was “torn in two from top to bottom” when Jesus died? 

In the Old Testament, God's earthly presence lived in the Temple of Jerusalem within a room called the Holy of Holies. This room, containing the presence of God, was separated from the rest of the Temple and the people by a massive, heavy curtain that couldn't be ripped with your bare hands. The curtain was a symbol of the sin that separated the people from God. No one could go into God's presence except for the High Priest who went once a year to atone, or make amends, for the sins of the people through a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, the word “atonement” means “to cover.” God would cover the sins of the people for another year but the sins wouldn’t be removed.

When we come to the final day Jesus was hanging on the cross, God tells us the moment Jesus, the perfect willing sacrifice breathed his last breath, the curtain separating us from God was torn from top to bottom.

There was no mistaking God’s intention.

No one could be confused by a tiny rip.

God intentionally split the curtain in two to show we are no longer separated from one another! We now have free access to God because our sin was completely removed by Jesus’ perfect sacrifice.

"For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity - the man Christ Jesus." 1 Timothy 2:5

God made sure we'd know without a shadow of a doubt that we can be in His presence any time we want, anywhere we want. He's only a prayer away.