A note from Megan Lemmons

Mark 15:37-38 says, "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."

Whenever I read the crucifixion narrative in the gospel of Mark I'm always struck by verse thirty-eight. This moment when the curtain in the temple is torn in two is a visual representation of the power of the Gospel and the love of Jesus. To understand the moment we need to take a little dive into Jewish history.

During that time, there was a place in the temple called the “Holy of Holies.” It was the place in which the presence of God dwelled (no big deal!). The thing was, that ONLY the priest could enter into this part of the temple and be in the presence of God - AKA only the super-extra-holy-set apart guy could go in. During that time there was a large curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple. So there was this place where only the super spiritual, law-abiding priest could go to be in the presence of God, and separate from that was every other ordinary person. Consider that image - the presence of God cut off from humanity and then all of a sudden, as Jesus breathes his last breath, this curtain of separation is torn in two! What does this mean?

This moment in the Gospel of Mark - this moment in human history is a declaration! It's a visual declaration that tells us, try as we might, that NOTHING can contain the love of God moving out toward all people. No past mistakes and no current suffering can stop God from moving toward humanity. This moment shows us that God is not only for the spiritual, rule-following kind of folks but that Jesus is for everyone. Everywhere. No matter what. His love and his sacrifice moves toward all people. This moment is a reminder that the grace and forgiveness Jesus offers us isn’t exclusive to a select group of people that have their lives together. This moment is Jesus saying “I love you” and “I choose you” as you are right now. It’s a love that meets you exactly where you are and draws you in with the assurance that there is more in store for your life.

This moment reminds us that His love is not just for us but it is for everyone. Remember: the love and grace of Jesus moves toward everyone. Everywhere. No matter what.

Megan Lemmons
Teaching & Home Communities Pastor | Willamette Christian Church