The Invitation - Day 40

Luke 23:44

By this time, it was about noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 45 The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. 46 Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words, he breathed his last.
47 When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” 48 And when all the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they went home in deep sorrow. 49 But Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.

Here are some logistics about what happened that day, and they are significant. Each one is a sermon unto itself. But Jesus was laid on the cross by noon that day. Then, the sun went out for 3 hours, and the temple curtain was torn from the top down, which is a big deal. That curtain separated the holy place from the Most Holy Place in the temple; it was what kept people away from the presence of God. The fact that it was torn from the top means any human did not tear it. It is a metaphor and a powerful visual that everything has changed.

If you know anything about that curtain, you know it took close to 100 priests to take it down and wash it. It was a few feet thick and was not easily torn. Because God wanted to show us that there is now no longer anything that keeps us away from Him, he pulled the curtain so we would have access to Him forever.

Even in death, Jesus’ countenance convinced people that they should follow him. The example of the Roman officer who claimed Jesus was innocent and went down and worshiped Jesus should show us that this was no regular man. The crowd seemed to realize something had changed, and they went home in what scripture says was “deep sorrow.”

Those who followed him did not come close. Perhaps they were scared to be recognized. Maybe they were heartbroken and didn’t want to be close witnesses to this horror show. Regardless, some of the entourage of Jesus were present to see his death, and they must have been feeling many different emotions.

I don’t know what you feel about this scene, but the brutality and the harsh conditions always take me back. Our Lord and Savior came to love us, and we killed him with a bias we usually leave for those who have done the worst things to other people. He was misunderstood and was undoubtedly feared. If I were one of those followers, I would have fallen to the ground and wept, not knowing what steps to take next.

Have you ever been to that place of despair? What did you do? That weekend must have been a weekend full of anxiety, weeping, hopelessness, and loss.

Thank goodness that no matter what, we never have to feel that hopeless again!

  1. Have you ever had deep sorrow for something? Why was that? 
  2. Why did Jesus shout out at the end? 
  3. Did you ever wonder why Jesus died so quickly on the Cross when it usually takes significantly longer to pass on a cross? 

By Pastor Timothy Gillespie

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