This coming Sunday I’ll be preaching on one of the very unusual aspects of a Jesus’s death. We read in Matthew’s Gospel in the 27th chapter, “at that moment (the moment of Jesus’ death) the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split” (v.51 NIV). As the holy veil of Jesus’s body that had been torn hangs dying on the cross, God moves in a very unusual way. At the moment of Jesus’s death the veil in the Temple is torn from top to bottom without any human hand being involved. This is a very significant event and very symbolic. The veil in the Temple hung between the holy place and the most holy place. It was through the veil that the priest would enter to make sacrifice. The veil hung right in front of the ark of the mercy seat. The death of Christ on the cross and the tearing of the veil are closely linked together. The veil was visible evidence that in the Old Testament religion the people had no direct access to God because the curtain separated the holy place from the most holy place. When Jesus died on the cross the tearing of the veil showed that now through the death of Jesus the way to God is open. It is the unseen hand of God that tears the veil from top to bottom. You see the sufferer on the cross has fulfilled the Levitical system of sacrifice and now by the symbolic action of God the abolition of the whole Mosaic system of sacrifice has been completed. The veil has been torn. We can come directly into God’s presence.
This means that I can go to God at any time and in any place and seek His face.
I was struck this morning (Fri.) at 6 AM as I was working out at the gym by what I considered to be a most unusual event. In the corner of one of the racquetball courts I noticed a man, who must’ve been a Muslim, praying on his prayer cloth. I say that this was a most unusual event for me because I’d never seen such a sight before at the gym. It raised lots of questions in my mind as to why this individual would choose this place and time to pray. I believe that we can pray in any place and at any time. I also believe that private prayer should be prayed in private and public prayer should be prayed in public. I even pray frequently for people that I come in contact with at the gym, who have needs that I can pray for. This is part of my priestly ministry of representing Jesus Christ. I also pray every day before I go to the gym, so I’m certainly not oppose the prayer. What I wonder about this experience is why someone would choose to use the racquetball court in LA fitness for his private prayer time? Is this an advertisement for all to know this person is a Muslim? If in fact he is a Muslim he is therefore required to pray five times each day. But you see for me the veil has been torn. I can talk to God anytime and anyplace and have direct access to Him. I don’t need to pray at specific times or facing Mecca, I can just come to Him in Jesus’s name. If this Muslim man is advertising the fact that he is a Muslim then there is only one response that I can make to that advertisement and that is the response of sharing with him the freedom and liberty that I have found in Jesus Christ. That freedom and liberty means the ability to pray to Jesus Christ at any time and at any place because you see the veil has been torn. Stay tuned for further updates, because I feel God has a divine appointment for me to talk with this Muslim man about his need for faith in Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who has torn the veil so that we can come to God at any time and in any place.