It was at the ninth hour of the day when Christ, our Lord, breathed His last breath, and with full confidence in His victory on the cross He cried out the most powerful words in the New Testament scriptures: It is finished. When Christ uttered the word finished, the environment literally began to change, fulfilling the scriptures of the prophets to describe the coming of the Messiah unto Israel and the signs of victory.
The earth shook to the point where rocks began to split, the dead saints were risen, and the people witnessing His death marveled. The centurion in command of the crucifixion couldn’t help but declare with his lips that Jesus was indeed “the Son of God”, declaring Christ’s deity and lordship over all of creation and over all institutional authority. However, the most striking moment of the supernatural occurrences was none of these things. Not even the rising of the dead saints astonished me more than the words from Matthew 27:51 (ESV), “…the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.”
Nothing is more powerful than to read of the freedom Christ bestowed on us from the curse of the law and the fulfillment of the covenant God promised to Adam and Eve, that the seed of Eve would “tread on the head of the serpent”. Christ’s death was more than just an execution of an innocent victim, but a sacrifice of atonement. Under the law of Moses, Christ was foreshadowed through the sacrifice of specific animals that were revered by the culture to be innocent and blameless. These animals, such as lambs, were to be sacrificed for the forgiveness of personal sins and the cry for a saving grace to be poured on a nation. Once the foreshadowed, and final, sacrifice was made complete in Christ’s death, God Himself tore the veil from “top to bottom” signifying the promise of the true atonement coming to fulfillment.
The main purpose of the veil was to make sure that the Holy of Holies would be separated from the rest of the world. The Holy of Holies was a place where salvation of the people would take place, with the sprinkling of the blood of a lamb on the ark of the covenant, and it could only be done by the high priest. As we learned from Hebrews 4:14-16, Jesus Christ descended from the line of Melchizedek, making Christ the high priest who would atone for the sins of the world. He was not only the high priest, but also the innocent lamb who was to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. Christ then had fulfilled the purpose of the Holy of Holies (to reflect Christ’s death), and made it once and for all, willing to save anyone who the Spirit wills.
Such a small moment in history, yet it has glorious implications: that we are now saved by grace and the blood that Jesus shed; this was all for the sake of a grace the Father gave out of love for His lost children. Christ didn’t come to abolish the law, but, by His own words, He came to fulfill it. Everything spoken in the Old Testament was by Jesus and for Jesus. His glory is no longer concealed and bound by a room shut by a curtain. Rather Christ has made His sacrifice public, and it has been made available to Jew and Gentile. It is for anyone who comes to salvation by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit and the gift of faith that God imparts out of His sovereign mercy.
For all that He has done on the cross and for all of the work He fulfilled so that we might come to salvation…
Soli Deo Gloria.