I will soon turn 61 years old. I remember when I thought that was old. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things I don’t remember these days. Perhaps the most frustrating memory lapses are when I forget passwords to online sites. And just this week, I drove to the church with two sets of car keys and no church key. It is so frustrating to suddenly be denied access to something that you enter every day without giving much thought to it. When that access is gone, we see what we have been taking for granted.

On the other hand, few things are as gratifying as suddenly being allowed access to a place where we previously were kept out. I recall being invited to an event and the person at the door checked to see if I was on the proverbial “list.” Friends with us joked: “Jerry, you’re on the list!” Talking to God the Father was a lot like that before Jesus changed things.

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. Matthew 27:50-53 (NIV)

At the moment of Jesus’ death, “the curtain” in the temple was torn, from top to bottom. Why is this significant? Greg Lanier explains it well writing at “The Gospel Coalition:

“Though other curtains (Greek, katapetasma) adorned the temple, the evangelists likely refer to the curtain at the entrance of the Most Holy Place, given their use of the definite article to specify it. It was the most significant curtain—holding immense symbolic value in early Judaism (see Josephus, War 5.212; Philo, Life of Moses 1.88)—and would automatically come to mind for any Jewish or Christian reader as “the curtain” (see Heb. 9:2–3).

Amid a tumult of apocalyptic events, this curtain “was torn” (passive voice) from “top to bottom,” with both details hinting at God’s direct intervention from heaven. He tears the curtain that guards his presence…We glimpse this wonderful reality in the apostle’s explanation of Jesus’s ominous words against the Jerusalem temple: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). The religious leaders push back, for it took 46 years to build Herod’s temple (John 2:20). But John comments, “He was speaking about the temple of his body” (John 2:21). Jesus himself is the new temple—the new Most Holy Place—with no curtain barring us from intimacy with him.”

Jesus was now the temple, not a building. We have direct access to God through prayer. It’s now for all who believe, not just the “holiest of the holies.” If we understood how talking to God was treated before Jesus, we would never take the privilege lightly again. No key or password is needed. When we accept Christ into our lives, we can pray to God the Father in Jesus’ name. We can pray to Jesus. We are on “the list.” We have access. Anywhere, anytime.

Jesus’ brutal death gave us access to eternity with Him. It gave us access to His unlimited grace in our time on earth. But never let us forget that we have 24/7/365 access to the ear of God. The curtain is torn. Access approved.

— Pastor Jerry Bader

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