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

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Then Jesus cried with a loud voice and died. When Jesus died, the curtain in the temple was torn into two pieces. The tear started at the top and tore all the way to the bottom.
— Mark 15:37-38
Illustration of Mark 15:37-38 — Then Jesus cried with a loud voice and died. When Jesus died, the curtain in the temple was torn into two pieces. The tear started at the top and tore all the way to the bottom.

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 Mercy Seat of God was in the Most Holy Place and only the High Priest could go before the Mery Seat on behalf of the people. The tearing of the curtain from top to bottom symbolized that the Cross of Christ opens up the way for us to go straight to the Mercy Seat of God—the place of ultimate forgiveness in the very presence of God. Jesus is the sacrifice for our sins that completely cleanses us and makes us right with God. Barriers no 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 associated Scriptures for more information.) What Satan, through evil men, had intended for harm, God used to bring great good. Jesus becomes our Savior and his sacrifice becomes the basis of our salvation.

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.

Today's Verses in Context

At noon the whole country became dark. This darkness continued until three o'clock. At three o'clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani." This means, "My God, my God, why have you left me alone?" Some of the people standing there heard this. The people said, "Listen! He is calling Elijah." One man there ran and got a sponge. The man filled the sponge with vinegar and tied the sponge to a stick. Then he used the stick to give the sponge to Jesus to drink from it. The man said, "We should wait now and see if Elijah will come to take him down from the cross." Then Jesus cried with a loud voice and died. When Jesus died, the curtain in the temple was torn into two pieces. The tear started at the top and tore all the way to the bottom. The army officer that was standing there before the cross saw what happened when Jesus died. The officer said, "This man really was the Son of God!" Some women were standing away from the cross, watching. Some of these women were Mary from the town of Magdala, Salome, and Mary the mother of James and Joses. (James was her youngest son.) These were the women that followed Jesus in Galilee and cared for him. Many other women were also there. These women had come with Jesus to Jerusalem.

Mark 15:33-41

Related Scripture Readings

The law gave us only an unclear picture of the good things coming in the future. The law is not a perfect picture of the real things. The law tells people to offer the same sacrifices every year. The people who come to worship God continue to offer those sacrifices. But the law can never make those people perfect. If the law could make people perfect, then those sacrifices would have already stopped. Those people would already be clean {from their sins}. And they would not still feel guilty for their sins. {But the law cannot do that.} Those people's sacrifices make them remember their sins every year, because it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Every day the priests stand and do their religious service. Again and again the priests offer the same sacrifices. But those sacrifices can never take away sins. But Christ offered only one sacrifice for sins, and that sacrifice is enough for all time. Then Christ sat down at the right side of God. And so, brothers and sisters, we are completely free to enter the Most Holy Place. We can do this without fear because of the blood (death) of Jesus. We can enter through a new way that Jesus opened for us. It is a living way. This new way leads through the curtain —Christ's body. And we have a great priest who rules the house (people) of God. We have been cleansed and made free from feelings of guilt. And our bodies have been washed with pure water. So come near to God with a sincere (true) heart, feeling sure because of our faith.

Hebrews 10:1-4, 11-12, 19-22

But the work that has been given to Jesus is much greater than the work that was given to those priests. In the same way, the new agreement that Jesus brought from God to his people is much greater than the old one. And the new agreement is based on promises of better things. If there was nothing wrong with the first agreement, then there would be no need for a second agreement. But God found something wrong with the people. God said: "The time is coming, says the Lord, when I will give a new agreement to the people of Israel and to the people of Judah. It will not be like the agreement that I gave to their fathers. That is the agreement I gave when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. They did not continue following the agreement I gave them, and I turned away from them, says the Lord. This is the new agreement I will give the people of Israel. I will give this agreement in the future, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write my laws on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Never again will a person have to teach his brother or God's other people. He will not need to tell them to know the Lord. Why? Because all people—the greatest people and the least important people— will know me. And I will forgive the wrong things they do against me, and I will not remember their sins." God called this a new agreement, so God has made the first agreement old. And anything that is old and useless is ready to disappear.

Hebrews 8:6-13

Christ had no sin. But God made him become sin. God did this for us, so that in Christ we could become right with God.

2 Corinthians 5:21


About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.