Jesus shouted again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit. Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom.
– Matthew 27.50/51
This has always been one of the most intriguing details of Christ’s crucifixion to me. Seemingly miraculously (it is important to note that, although it says “suddenly", it does not say miraculously, so to interject that notion is admittedly an assumption), something the Pharisees would believe to separate an unworthy humanity from the very presence of God is torn apart. The symbolism of this message is passionately meaningful. The curtain tearing was not a way of saying the “Holy of Holies” isn’t the dwelling place of God, but that everywhere is. What stands out to me the most about this is how it wonderful summarizes Jesus’ life.
Constantly, Jesus tore apart the things we believed to be so sacred that not everyone could take part in it. He did this when the Pharisees asked him to tell them when God’s kingdom will come. He said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable; no one will say, ‘Look here!’ or ‘There!’ For you see, the kingdom of God is within you.” In this instance, here and there are the veils which the Pharisees hung up between us and the kingdom of God. It is not here, neither is it there. Those veils need to be torn apart. They are false and delusional. Anything and any thought that we believe separates between us from God is false and delusional. The residence of God is within you.
So, now we can see and understand that you and I are the "curtains of the sanctuary”. We try to make our lives and beliefs about what’s on the other side appear beautiful, but the best thing we could do is draw back. Allow our identification with emotions, things, and people groups to be pulled away, even for just a little bit, so that the kingdom of God within might be revealed. This “drawing back” is what Jesus is describing when he says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves.”
We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
– 2 Corinthians 3.18
We do ourselves and our relationships a huge service by taking time to remove the veils and curtains in our lives. Whenever and wherever we see our religion putting up more of them, be strong and courageous and just walk right through them.