AO: Krispy Kreme
Pax Present: Squatter, Ginger, Dipstick, Swan, Spam, Belding, Jefferson, Speedwalker, CDC and Mr. Rogers.
Why We Pray In Jesus’ Name:
Matthew 27:45-51-“From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”–which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
And when Jesus had cried 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 and the rocks split.”
For hundreds of years mankind had no direct access to God. God is a completely perfect being and we are completely imperfect creatures. Scripture calls Him Holy. That means set apart and without contamination. For God to stay Holy He cannot have anything to do with sinful creatures like us unless He makes provision. Because He is Holy, His only choices when it comes to sin is to forgive it or to punish it.
When God began to reveal Himself to the Jewish people He set up a system by which His people could have some level of interaction with Him. He created the Tabernacle and a sacrificial system by which the sins of His people could be covered. God also instructed them to build a golden box called the Ark of the Covenant that contained various religious artifacts and on which the actual presence of God rested. Sin humans are sinful God instructed His people not to touch the Ark and to limit people’s access to it. This is where the Tabernacle came into play.
The Tabernacle was a series of curtains on wooden rods that marked off a boundary that they people could only cross if they met certain qualifications. Only Jews could enter the Tabernacle, then men could go further than women, and priests could further than average people. But within the center of the Tabernacle was a special area called “the Holy of Holies.” It was a curtain area that housed the Ark.
When Israel entered and conquered the promised land, the Tabernacle became a permanent structure when King Solomon built the Temple. It also had a Holy of Holies which housed the Ark. Eventually that Temple was destroyed and a second Temple was built. This was the Temple that existed in Jesus’ time and that is spoken of in Matthew 27:45-51.
The entrance to the Holy of Holies was covered by a large, thick curtain. It was 60 feet high and 30 feet wide. It took 82 young women a complete year to weave 2 of these curtains. It was so heavy it took 300 priests to lift it up on a series of pulleys to put into place. And it was as think as the length of a man’s hand.
That curtain blocked the entrance to the Holy of Holies and limited people’s access to God. Only the High Priest, could enter the Holy of Holies and be in the presence of the Ark and he could only do that one time a year. He would slaughter a Bull and a Goat and then carry their blood into the Holy of Holies. He would sprinkle the blood on top of the Ark which was called the Mercy Seat and on which the presence of God dwelt. The blood of the Bull covered his sins and the sins of the priests who served over the past year and the blood of the goat covered the sins of the people.
One person. One time a year. That was all the access people had to God.
But that all changed when Christ was crucified.
Notice a small detail in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ crucifixion:
“And when Jesus had cried 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.”
Did you catch that? The Temple curtain was town in half, from top to bottom! For the first time, access to God was opened to all people! And since it was torn from top to bottom it is clear that it was God who did the tearing! Now we have access to God whenever we want it!
So when we pray in Jesus name we are reminded of two things:
- Jesus is the only way for us to get to God. John 14:6 is clear. “Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father accept by Me.”
- Jesus is the only way we have access to Father. When we pray, we cannot forget that there is nothing inherent in us that makes us worthy to pray. We aren’t good enough to deserve to have God hear us. We only have access because Christ shed His blood for us and opened the way for us to God.
So on this Good Friday, take some time to sit before the Lord and express your appreciation to Him. Reveal in the fact that you have access to God. But never forget that it’s only because of Jesus.
Prayer Requests: Dunkins mom, Dipsticks Mom, the Hilton’s,