No Greater Love
By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. (Isaiah 53:8b)
And when Jesus had aied out again in a loud voice, he gave up his
spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split. (Matthew 27:50-51)
No Greater Love
By: Ashley Peterson (St. Mark Staff Minister Intern)
In the Old Testament, the Israelites worshiped in a mobile temple called the Tabernacle. God gave them precise instructions on constructing the Tabernacle (Exodus 26). The two areas of prominence in the temple were the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. A curtain about as wide as a handbreadth separated these two sections. The Priests entered into the Holy Place to conduct their everyday ministry, and the Most Holy Place was off-limits to all except during the Passover festival on one day of the year. A day called the Day of Atonement. On that day, only the High Priest could enter into the Most Holy Place, but he would have to bring a blood offering for his and the people’s sins.
Everything that the Israelites did was a shadow of things to come. The Tabernacle was a representation of the present circumstance. God dwelled in the Most Holy Place with a thick curtain that separated the people from him, just as our imperfections and sin separated us from the presence of God. We could not stand in his presence without fear of his wrath. The High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place only once a year with a blood offering. To enter at any other time, one would fear death. The Day of Atonement was a day that was repeated year after year as they awaited the time for the Messiah to pay for their sins in full. The blood offering of goats and bulls was not sufficient to clear the conscience of the worshipers. It was not sufficient to make full atonement for every sin, of all people, of all times.
We sin so frequently that we become blind to our transgressions. It is hard to keep track of how many times we stumble and when. Our sin goes far beyond transgressing against accepted human behavior. Our sin is a rebellion directed against God. Each sin committed is like a nail going into his hands and feet, a spear to his side, or a lash against his flesh. Our sins put him on the cross and kept him there.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13). The love of God was so great that he willingly died for you and me. Our sins required the sacrificial blood of a perfect lamb. The perfect sacrifice that only Jesus himself could offer. At the moment of Jesus’ death, the temple curtain that separates the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place tore in two. No longer were the people barred from entering the Most Holy Place where God dwelled. No more are we separated from God because of the sins we have committed. Jesus died for our atonement; A gift given to all people to restore a right relationship with him.
Song: My King Is known By Love by The Clark Family
Prayer Suggestion: Thank God for sending Jesus to fix our relationship with him. Ask for forgiveness for the sin that caused that separation.