Sermon Recap — June 6, 2021

The Veil Was Torn in Two

Jeremy Bell
Luke 23:44–56
June 6, 2021
Sermon Video/Audio

Luke 23:44–56

[44] It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, [45] while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. [46] Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. [47] Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” [48] And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. [49] And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.

[50] Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, [51] who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. [52] This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. [53] Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. [54] It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. [55] The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. [56] Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.

On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

Introduction

  • Here we have the account of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • This is very heartbeat, the very centerpiece of our faith!
  • Yet we can become so familiar with this story that it loses its power and potency in our hearts.
  • The truth is, we were held captive to a certain reality called sin.
  • Sin had broken our relationship with our Holy God.
  • Sin had so affected us that there was nothing we could do to repair our relationship with God.
  • A ransom was due that we couldn’t pay.  We needed someone else to take action for us. And that’s specifically what Jesus came to do.
  • In the words of Mark 10:45 – “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
  • We had no ability to free ourselves. No amount of work could put us in a position to gain freedom. Nor did we have the ability to pay the ransom. Praise the Lord we have the account of Jesus paying that ransom in our place!

I. Three Extraordinary Things About the Death of Christ

(1) Darkness Over the Whole Land (verse 44)

  • Darkness may have appeared to win at the death of Christ/. Yet the truth is, darkness will never prevail over the light.
  • “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).”
  • Darkness cannot overcome the light. It is unable to do so. Take comfort in this truth! Though darkness covered the land in this moment, and Jesus died and was buried, the light of Christ was not squelched. Darkness couldn’t contain the glorious light of Christ

(2) The Curtain of the Temple was Torn in Two (verse 45)

  • Jesus Christ’s blood had paid the ransom we could not pay!
  • We were held captive by sin.
  • The blood of goats and bulls and lambs could never atone for sins, they just pointed forward to the perfect blood of Christ.
  • By His death, His powerful blood was once and for all time sprinkled on that mercy seat, which then was required no longer.
  • Jesus’s blood paid the ransom, and now God would take up residence in the hearts of His people.
  • Not in a temple made by hands, but in the temples of His children.
  • The way to Holy God was accessed by faith in Jesus Christ.
  • The time of the temple sacrifices came to a close with the perfect sacrifice of Christ.

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a full assurance of faith (Hebrews 10:19-22).”

Why was it necessary for Christ, the Redeemer, to die?
“Since death is the punishment for sin, Christ died willingly in our place to deliver us from the power and penalty of sin and bring us back to God. By His substitutionary atoning death, He alone redeems us from hell and gains for us forgiveness of sin, righteousness, and everlasting life.” — Question 24, NCC

  • The veil was torn, and God would no longer dwell in a temple made by hands (Acts 17:24).
  • The veil was symbolic of Christ Himself as the only way to the Father.
  • Now that the veil is torn, we go to God through the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
  • Just as the flesh of Christ was torn, and life-giving blood flowed, so was the veil torn, making a way for sinners to be reconciled to a holy God.

(3) The Revelation of God to the Gentiles (verse 47)

  • God revealed Himself to a Gentile centurion
  • “He praised God, saying, ‘Surely this man was innocent!’ (verse 47)”
  • When the centurion saw what took place, he really saw. In other words, God opened His eyes.
  • Everyone else there saw the same things as the centurion.
  • But yet not everyone else had spiritual perception to see in fact Who Jesus is.
  • God opened the eyes of the Gentile centurion. He praised God! He recognizes Jesus’s innocence. God grants him spiritual sight.
  • This is not the first time God had granted a Gentile faith of course, as another centurion had expressed his faith in Christ (Luke 7:1-10) as well as a handful of others.
  • Yet here in this scene, at the foot of the cross, this Gentile’s faith is symbolic of the universal triumph of the gospel’s message.
  • From this very event, the crucifixion, the hope of the gospel will begin to ring around the world and bring into reality the family of God from every tribe and nation and tongue in the world
  • Also, “they went home beating their breasts (verse 48)”
  • This suggests remorse for what they had done, and sets the stage for the great crowds repenting and coming to faith in Acts 4 and beyond.
  • The gospel is now going beyond the Jews.
  • At one time Jesus had said that He came to the “lost sheep of Israel”, but now the gateway has been opened wide.
  • Luke records for us both Jewish and Gentile reactions to Christ.
  • The vision of Simeon, specifically that the coming of Jesus would bring about salvation for all people groups, both Jews and Gentiles.
  • This is the pivotal moment in redemptive salvation history!

II. The Burial of Christ

  • Luke goes on to give the details of Jesus burial, beginning with the character of the man. Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the council, the Sanhedrin, and even though he was a member of the council, he did not agree with the will of the council. Luke says he was “a good and righteous man (verse 50).” “He was looking for the Kingdom of God (verse 51).”
  • Why go to all the detail related to the burial? Perhaps because though Jesus died a criminal’s death, He is honored in His burial. The Romans had a tradition of letting vultures eat away the body of those who were guilty of sedition. Yet due to being in Jerusalem, that was against the moral law, so they allowed a common burial for those condemned to die. But Jesus receives no common burial.
  • He was wrapped in expensive linen.
  • He was buried in an expensive hand-cut tomb, that had not been defiled by anyone else – these kinds of expensive tombs were reserved for people of high status.
  • Nicodemus joins Joseph of Arimethea (John 19:38) and together they bring about 75 lbs of expensive spices to anoint the body of Jesus, an exorbitant amount, usually reserved for a king.
  • In His burial, He is treated like the King that He is. There were some other faithful disciples that endured in this time.
  • One group was the faithful “women who had followed Him from Galilee” ((verse 49 and (verse 55). They took action in accord with their devotion to Christ. They embalmed Him. The obeyed Him and rested on the Sabbath.

III.  Application – What does this mean for us?

1. Darkness will never prevail

  • Take comfort in the fact that the darkness will not prevail over the light. It never can. Though it may have seemed in the moments around Jesus’ death that darkness had in fact prevailed, it did not. Not only did it not prevail, the crucifixion of our Lord paved the way for the triumph of the gospel around the globe!
  • What does this mean? It means that we can trust the Lord, even when things are not going the way we’d like.
  • Even when we’re in times of suffering for the name of Christ. Difficulties have come, and they will increase. There are types of suffering, as a Christian, that will come to you. And we can trust God in those moments of great difficulty, even great difficulty when we’re doing His will.
  • It was the will of the Father to crush the Son, but even as He is being crushed He cries out “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (verse 46). Jesus freely trusted His Father in His greatest moment of difficulty. So can we trust the Lord. Though it may seem that the darkness prevails, darkness will never prevail over the light.

2. The power of the gospel still restores all kinds of people

  • The gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
  • The Holy Spirit moves through the message of the gospel and opens eyes and hearts where He will.
  • It would seem unlikely that this Roman centurion, usually a hardened, desensitized individual, would have his heart softened to Jesus.
  • But this is what the gospel does. The Holy Spirit opens eyes where He will. Let us continue to be faithful to share.
  • And let us join in the proclamation of this glorious gospel, for Jesus alone has the power to save! Pray for the harvest. What better investment can you make?

Questions For Discussion/Application

  • Re-read the text, Luke 23:44–56.
  • How does it affect you to read this text? What do you personally see in this text that highlights the glory of our Savior Jesus? What in this passage makes you want to worship the Savior?
  • Hebrews 10:19-22 says, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a full assurance of faith.” What is the practical significance of the Temple Curtain being torn in two?
  • How does it make you feel to know that because of Christ and through Christ you always have access to God? What difference should this truth make in our lives?
  • Read the notes under point #3, “Application — What does this mean for us?”   In what situations does darkness seem to be prevailing? How does the truth that through the Cross, Jesus secured ultimate victory for His people encourage you ?
  • Consider taking time to pray, thanking God for dying on the Cross for us in our place, paying the price we could not pay. Also consider asking God for increased power and strength to trust Him in the midst any difficulties you may be facing.

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