6-Week Series: Against All Odds

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Summary: At the very instant Jesus died, the massive veil before the Holy of Holies was suddenly torn in half from top to bottom.The sound of the veil tearing must have been deafening. Imagine the priests hearing it, feeling the earthquake, etc. What could it mean?

THE TEARING OF THE VEIL

Matthew 27:45-46, 50-54

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR: Sometimes crazy things happen at church

1. Pastor Dennis Swanberg of Saginaw, Texas, told of a strange incident that happened on Easter Sunday. Water started dripping through the ceiling onto the choir. The air conditioning units in the attic were overflowing through the ceiling. Two men got up and climbed on the roof. Soon you could hear them walking across the ceiling joists of the sanctuary.

2. The Pastor said, “And then it happened. Whoosh! One of them came through the ceiling. He grabbed the ceiling joists and held on for dear life. The crowd gasped. The man’s mother recognized her son’s chubby legs and hollered out his name.”

3. The Guest Speaker looked at the pastor and said, “Pastor, are we having a healing service? Someone’s coming through the roof to get in!” The crowd roared with laughter. The man climbed back onto the roof.

4. At the end of the service, a first-time attending rancher came to shake the pastor’s hand. He said, “Pastor, I told my wife, “There’s no need for me to go to church; if I go, the roof will cave in. And sure enough, it did!”

B. TEXT: Matt. 27:45-46, 50-54

45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). 50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

C. THESIS

1. Many mysterious things happened on the day Jesus died: it became dark at noon, an earthquake occurred, and tombs opened and Jewish saints came out of them.

2. But the most mysterious and ominous event that took place was that the veil of the Temple was torn -- from top to bottom -- by invisible hands at the very moment that Jesus gave up His Spirit. What did it mean?

I. WHAT THE VEIL SYMBOLIZED

A. PURPOSES OF THE VEIL

This veil was a large piece of material woven of blue, purple, crimson and white thread, and embroidered with cherubim. It was many layers thick and acted as a barrier or wall between the holy place and the holy of holies in the Jewish Temple. Ordinary priests could enter the first room of the Temple, but only the high priest could enter the holy of holies, once a year, on the Day of Atonement.

1. IT WAS FOR CONCEALMENT. The word “VEIL” in Greek (katapetasma) means "that which is spread out before."

2. It showed that the Knowledge About God – THE MYSTERIES – were NOT YET REVEALED during the Old Testament period.

3. Mainly -- it's SYMBOLIZED THE SEPARATION between God and Man that existed until the blood of Christ eternally atoned for sin.

B. DESCRIPTION OF THE VEIL

1. 60 feet long and 30 feet wide

2. As thick as the Palm of a man's hand.

3. Made of 72 squares, which were joined together.

4. Ancient document -- "took 300 priests to lift it."

C. PART OF MOSAIC COVENANT

1. When God gave the people of Israel the Sacrificial system to atone for their sins, He gave them a Temple, a Priesthood, and proscribed animal sacrifices that could temporarily (Heb. 10:4) cover their sins.

2. On a special day, called the Day of Atonement, the High Priest was to enter the inner sanctuary of the Temple, the Holy of Holies. He waved a censor and sprinkled blood for his sins and the sins of all Israel (Leviticus 16:12-13).

3. During his visit in the Holy of Holies, there was the imminent danger of death, due to failure in some aspect of the high priest’s atonement or personal sin. Some sources say that he went in with a rope around his foot, so that if he died, his body could be retrieved, since no one else was authorized to enter the sacred precinct.

4. The Blood of Bulls & Goats could never take away sin. WE KNOW, BECAUSE THE VEIL -- the symbol of separation between God & man – WAS NEVER TAKEN AWAY! No matter how great the sacrifice, or how many, the veil remained between God and man.

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