On Good Friday, the Temple was Destroyed.1
“You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” - Matthew 27:40
Little did they realize that in a few short hours, he would indeed destroy the Temple by disabling it’s purpose. Due to the power of sin, God was present but removed physically from his people in his dwelling place, the Temple, in Jerusalem. Early Jewish literature speaks of this veil being as thick as a man’s hand, being 60 feet long and 20 feet wide. Exodus 26:31-35 gives the description of it’s beauty, and of it’s purpose - separating the Ark of the Covenant (God’s Throne) from Israel.
One could not simply walk into the presence of God with the Ark - their uncleanliness and their sin could bring upon them the wrath of God, and they would be stricken down. All the sacrifices that took place in the Temple and all of it’s artifacts existed in order to cleanse God’s people and transfer the death they deserved to an animal in hopes of being accepted by God.
But when Jesus died, this veil was torn in two.
“…Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom…” Matthew 27:51
In effect, Jesus by his death destroyed the Temple by becoming the Temple himself. To have access and acceptance to God brought the requirement of walking to his Temple with an acceptable sacrifice, and through the mediation of the priests working in the Temple, would find brief and temporary acceptance before God by the slaying of their sacrifice until their sin brought separation once again.
Now, through the once and for all sacrifice of Christ, he has become the point by which we access God.
"For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:18 ESV)
He has become the mediator between us and God.
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”
(1 Timothy 2:5 ESV)
He destroyed the Temple by his death. He became the Temple for us, rebuilding it three days later by his resurrection. And in our future home, the New Heavens & the New Earth, there is no need for a Temple,
“…for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:22 ESV)
Are you feeling separated from the love of God? Is there something in your heart and life that causes you to feel as though God has separated himself from you? Do you feel like you have built a mountain of separation by your sin, one that you could never tear down or cross over to find cleanliness and acceptance before God? Are you feeling desperate and hungry for God’s love, but simply feel unworthy?
Look to the cross. Look to the death of Jesus. By his blood, you will find redemption and forgiveness of all your sin (Ephesians 1:7). The word all in greek means “ALL.” In other words, there is not a single sin in your life that has not, is not, and will not be covered by the death of Christ. In him you have permanent access and acceptance before God the Father by his death, through the Spirit that he has given us. There is now no fear of wrath from God against your sin (Romans 3:23-25).
As we mourn the death of Christ today on this Good Friday, may we savor the access and acceptance we have to our Heavenly Father, which is the hidden key to all joy and fulfillment in our existence.