It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. (Luke 23:44-45)
It seems appropriate that the sun should darken while Jesus suffered on the cross. It was not a solar eclipse. A solar eclipse requires a new moon. It was Passover, and Passover requires a full moon. God made the sun dark that day, and He also tore the temple curtain in two. Matthew 27:51 tells us it was torn from top to bottom. Josephus, the Jewish Historian, tells us the curtain leading to the Holy of Holies was four inches thick.
Only the high priest could walk beyond the temple curtain to enter the Holy of Holies, the place where God appeared in a cloud of smoke in the presence of the high priest, the Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments, the atonement cover, Aaron’s staff, and the Cherubim of glory. The High Priest entered with blood which he offered for himself and for the sins of God’s people. But it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin.
Therefore, God tore the temple curtain in half because it was no longer necessary. Jesus became the high priest and took our sin to the cross. For the first time since Adam sinned, God’s children are able to be in direct communion with God and ask for our own forgiveness.
Now we can enter into God’s presence confidently, not by a curtain but through the blood of Jesus. We pray in Jesus’ name because we enter God’s presence in prayer through Him, not a curtain. He gave His life for us, so we could draw nearer to God. Jesus saves those who knock on His door. He opens our lives to God and lives to intercede for us
Father God, thank you for the sacrifice of Jesus for me so I can be holy in Your presence, enjoying a personal relationship with You. By the blood of Jesus, show me how to spur myself and others toward love, encouragement, and good deeds. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
(The last three paragraphs and prayer were taken from Hebrews 7:19, 7:25, 9:4-5, 9:7, 10:3, 10:9-10, 10:19-20, 10:22-24)