Learn About/Subscribe:
Christian Union

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.” - Matthew 27:51-53

We often encounter “Do Not’s” in our daily lives. “Do not Enter.” “Do Not Touch.” “Do Not Pass.” When you go to a museum, you won’t be able to get within four feet of a famous painting or an ancient artifact because of the velvet rope that stands in your way. You’ve probably been in buildings that have signs on the doors that say, “Do Not Enter. Official Personnel Only.” Or maybe you’ve been to a concert where your favorite band is playing, and you can’t help but covet those wearing the VIP Backstage Passes hanging around their necks. Whether the purpose is to keep us out of danger, to protect something that’s valuable, or to give access only to important people, our lives are filled with yellow tape that we are not allowed to cross. 

In the Temple at the time of Jesus, there was an inner room inside the Holy Place called the Holy of Holies. Given the name, you can guess that this was a very sacred room, where no average person was allowed in. It was where the very presence of God came to dwell. There was a thick veil, or curtain, made out of the finest materials that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place, and therefore separated a Holy God from sinful man. Only the High Priest, who was handpicked by God, was allowed to pass through the curtain into the presence of God, and that was only once a year on the Day of Atonement and after many thorough cleansing rituals. If anyone else but the High Priest tried to enter the Holy of Holies, he would die.

This curtain was the biggest “Do Not Enter” sign in the temple, the great divider that hid the glorious presence of God from sinful humanity. The very moment Jesus gave His Spirit up to God on the cross, Matthew writes that the curtain was torn in two from top to bottom. This was some thick material and it was extremely high, not to mention the fact that it was torn from top to bottom, showing that this had to be a miraculous act from above. This tearing of the curtain displays the perfect sacrifice of Jesus and what it did for us sinful people. No longer do we have a “Do Not Enter” sign keeping us back from God, for Jesus ripped it down in His death, opening the door wide open for us to have free and complete access to the presence of God. It is as if Jesus gave us His VIP pass, granting us His status so that we might experience the blessed relationship that He has with the Father. Therefore, let us approach God with confidence, giving thanks to Jesus for opening up the way that we might know and enjoy the Father, and experience His fellowship like we were never able to before. Remember this as you come to the Lord in prayer today. The curtain is torn, so you have complete access to bring your heart before the Lord.

Julia Carlisle
Ministry Fellow at Dartmouth