March 31 – Chronological Life of Jesus Day 64
Today we are reading our first accounts of Jesus’ death, from Matthew and Mark. Thank you, Holly, for sharing your SOAP journal entry with us today!
READ: Matthew 27, Mark 15
Matthew 27:51–53: “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.”
One of my first Bible studies ever back in 2005 was Beth Moore’s “A Woman’s Heart”, and it was an in-depth look at the tabernacle. It was an awesome experience for a baby Christian like me to dive in the Bible and really examine the intricate details of God’s work and planning. I highly recommend it! I mention this because I had learned all about the holy of holies, a room in which only a few priests were allowed to enter. It was the room where the ark of the covenant with the Ten Commandments was held. There were many accounts of improper handling and procedure resulting in instant death, struck down by God Almighty. There were pages and pages of exact instruction that must be carried out to the letter. After weeks of study, I couldn’t help but feel incredibly intimidated, in awe, afraid, and totally unworthy of God’s holy presence.
So here we are at the moment of Jesus’s death, and the curtain of the temple was torn. This was the curtain that represented the separation between the holy of holies and the people. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, God’s presence to us is fully available. There is no longer this sacred division that is untouchable. We are able to receive His Holy Spirit and live in the presence of God! Amazing!
Remember back at the triumphal entry when Jesus was riding in on the donkey and people were praising him and shouting? In Luke 19:40, Jesus says, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” My pastor pointed out that here we have the disciples praising, but at the crucifixion the disciples all fled. And so even the stones cry out, tombstones that is, with the dead coming back to life. God’s creation could not stay quiet; the sun went dark and the earth shook!!!
God is available to us! When we seek Him and draw near to Him, He reveals Himself to us. I cannot get enough of God’s holy presence. When I function outside of His laws, I slip into sadness, anger, bitterness, hatred, lust, envy, and so on. I am alive with Christ! I am dead to living in sin. I learned just this week that “purity” in the Bible refers to our focus on faith, untainted by the world. When we mold God’s Word with other worldly teachings, we dirty up our faith. There is a very interesting connection between how quiet we are about our faith the more our creation cries out! Let’s keep praising and turn up the volume! Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest!
I pray that we have the strength to examine ourselves and make the necessary changes. I pray we do not turn away from suffering. I pray we have the joy of Your presence with us always! I pray that we have the strength and courage to praise You in the midst of persecution! I pray our faith stays pure and we do not become deceived by false teachings.