What Jesus Did! 'Holy of Holies' — Mark 15:37-38

Sunday, December 15, 2024

Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
— Mark 15:37-38 NLT

Key Thought

The meaning of this event and its symbolism are powerful. The curtain in today's scripture was the one between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place in the Jewish Temple. For the Jews, the place of atonement* was in the Most Holy Place, and only the high priest could go to the place of atonement on behalf of the people and only once each year, on the Day of Atonement. The tearing of the curtain from top to bottom symbolized that the cross of Christ opened up the way for us to go straight to the place of atonement at any time — go to the place of ultimate forgiveness in the very presence of God (Exodus 30:6; Leviticus 16:2). Jesus is the sacrifice for our sins that completely cleanses us and makes us right with God. Neither physical barriers nor specific time or place constraints any longer stand between us and God's grace and mercy. Jesus opened up for us the way to the very heart of God. As horrible as the humiliation of the cross was for Jesus, it was even more glorious for us because it ushered in a new way (called the new covenant) for God to deal with his people. (Please read today's Related Scripture Readings for more information.) What Satan, through evil men, intended for harm, God used to bring great good. Jesus became our Savior, and his sacrifice became the basis of our salvation.

* The place of atonement, called the mercy seat in some translations, was the cover of the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:17). Originally, the place of atonement was in the Tabernacle after the Israelites escaped from Egypt and then was in the Temple when it was built.

Today's Prayer

Loving and sacrificial God, thank you for this gift too wonderful for words to describe and for paying the price that was too costly for us to pay. In Jesus' name, I offer you my prayer and my life. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Hebrews 10:1-4, 11-12, 19-22
  • Hebrews 8:6-13
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 11:25


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Illustration of Mark 15:37-38 NLT — Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.