The Veil Torn

When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”When some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, “Behold, He is calling for Elijah.” Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, saying, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to take Him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
Mark 15:33–39

Tearing of the Veil by EthalenSkye

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh…”
Hebrews 10:19–20

Charles Spurgeon, The Rent Veil:

“…the rending of the veil of the temple is not a miracle to be lightly passed over. It was made of “fine twined linen, with Cherubims of cunning work.” This gives the idea of a substantial fabric, a piece of lasting tapestry, which would have endured the severest strain. No human hands could have torn that sacred covering; and it could not have been divided in the midst by any accidental cause; yet, strange to say, on the instant when the holy person of Jesus was rent by death, the great veil which concealed the holiest of all was “rent in twain from the top to the bottom.” What did it mean?

“…According to the explanation given in our second text, the rending of the veil chiefly meant that the way into the holiest, which was not before made manifest, was now laid open to all believers. Once in the year the high priest solemnly lifted a corner of this veil with fear and trembling, and with blood and holy incense he passed into the immediate presence of Jehovah; but the tearing of the veil laid open the secret place. The rent front top to bottom gives ample space for all to enter who are called of God’s grace, to approach the throne, and to commune with the Eternal One….

“…I shall ask you to consider what has been done. The veil has been rent. Secondly, we will remember what we therefore have: we have “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood Jesus.” Then, thirdly, we will consider how we exercise this grace: we “enter by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.”

* * * * * * *

…and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:21-22

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Tearing of the Veil ©2010-2015 EthalenSkye
©2015-2018 Iwana Carpenter

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JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS

“So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified.

“They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

crown-of-thorns-inri-kfc-header1.jpg

 

“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture: “They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” Therefore the soldiers did these things.

“But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He *said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.

“After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”
John 19:16–30
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O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

O sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

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Maundy Thursday

Christus wäscht dem heiligen Petrus die FüßeAs Jesus talked with His disciples the night before He died on the cross (John 13–16), He spoke to them about who He was, and he described about the suferring they would face as His disciples. He reassured them of His continuing presence and care in His sending of the Holy Spirit even as He told them what the world would do to them because they were His.

As He spoke with them about how they were to live with each other, He gave them two commands—only two—and each one is significant. He began by washing their feet, the work of a slave.

“So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.””
John 13:12–17

Don Carson writes:

“A quick reading of John 13:1–13 (some prefer to think of John 13:120 as the basic unit) shows that the episode of the foot washing is turned in two directions. On the one hand, it is symbolic of spiritual cleansing (cf. especially vv. 810); on the other, it serves as a standard of humble service and therefore as a call to all of Jesus’ disciples to ‘wash one another’s feet’ (vv. 12-17).”1

Humble service is the first command, taught by example and then explained though His words. The second command He taught by His words, and the next day His disciples would see those words explained by His example.

FishNecklace“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35

Remember there were other times when they had heard Jesus speak of the greatest command to love God, and the second, to love their neighbor. As He talked with them that night, Jesus repeated His new command, setting the standard for their love for each other.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.”
John 15:12-14

That same evening He prayed:

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.2

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”
John 17:20-23

In “The Mark of a Christian” I tell the story of how a kind and loving Christian gave me the fish pendant above. I also write about the sad reality of those times when Christian love is as broken and cracked as the ἰχθύς wheel symbol on the left. You would think that the last two things Jesus commanded on the night before He died would be taken soberly and seriously by His disciples and obeyed. Alas, they are not.

We have lived in different cities and in very different regions, but everywhere we have too often seen church after church marred by a lack of service—remember that Jesus did the service of a slave—and a lack of love: unkindness, jealousy, arrogance, coldness, and apathy to the needs of others. Not just the people, but the leaders within the Christian church have had same ideas about being great and being first that the disciples had when they squabbled about prestige and power in the kingdom of God. Rather than take the Scripture seriously about how to live and care for one another, far too many in the church draw their template from the surrounding culture. The ironic thing is that some within the business community recognize the importance of authenticity, generosity and kindness, while Christians seem to have never heard of them, much less be on terms with the fruit of the Spirit. We should not be churches rife with favoritism who say ‘be warm, be filled’, but we are.

If the church is in any doubt as to what it means to love one another, Jesus gave us His example, and Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 described the attitudes and actions of love as he gave us characteristics we can see and recognize—characteristics that obviously flow from within from a changed mind and heart.

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

“Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13

Maundy Thursday is named after the New Commandment:

“Most scholars agree that the English word Maundy in that name for the day is derived through Middle English, and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you”)…”3

The name of this day bears the mark of His command. Isn’t it time our lives were marked by it as well? Many churches have a Good Friday service during which they remember our Lord’s crucifixion. Perhaps a Maundy Thursday service should be considered as a time during which Christians in a local church would commit themselves to humble service to one another and to laying-down-life love for one another.

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Giovanni Giuliani, Christus wäscht dem heiligen Petrus die Füße (Christ washing the feet of saint Peter). Cropped from a photograph by Wolfgang Sauber. GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.
Ichthus (the ΙΧΘΥΣ) Wheel in Ephesus: public domain via Wikipedia.
The wheel is an overlay of the uppercase letters, ΙΧΘΥΣ. The fish has been a Christian symbol since the early years of the church. The Greek word for fish is an acrostic; each letter is the first letter of one of the five words of the phrase: Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior: ͑Ιησοῦς Χριστός Θεοῦ ͑Υιός Σωτήρ.
1D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids MI: 1991) 458.
2Francis Schaeffer said the love of Christians for one another is The Mark of a Christian, and in the book he wrote by that name he called John 17:21, The Final Apologetic.
3Wikipedia, Maundy Thursday.

Original content: Copyright ©2014–2018 Iwana Carpenter

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Psalm 118: Passover & The Cornerstone

The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
This is the LORD’S doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
Psalm 118:22–23

Psalm 118 is in Book V of the Psalms. It’s also the last psalm of the ‘Egyptian Hallel.’ Derek Kidner wrote:

A short run of psalms used at the yearly Passover begins here [at Psalm 113], and is therefore commonly known as the ‘Egyptian Hallel’ (Hallel means Praise). Only the second of them (114) speaks directly of the Exodus, but the theme of raising the downtrodden (113) and the note of corporate praise (115), personal thanksgiving (116), world vision (117) and festal procession (118) make it an appropriate series to mark the salvation which began in Egypt and will spread to the nations. By custom, the first two psalms are sung before the Passover meal, and the remaining four after it. So these were probably the last psalms our Lord sang before His passion (Mk. 14:26), and Psalm 118 had already made itself heard more than once in the confrontation of the previous few days. There was more relevance in these psalms to the Exodus—the greater Exodus—than could be guessed in Old Testament times.”1

Kidner referred to Psalm 118 having made itself heard during confrontations in the previous days. If you look in the Gospels, you’ll find records of Jesus’ confrontations with the Pharisees during Holy Week. After telling the parable of the vine-growers killing the son of the vineyard owner (cf. Matthew 21, Mark 12 and Luke 20), Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22–23:

“Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?” They *said to Him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.”

“Jesus *said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures,

‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief cornerstone;
This came about from the Lord,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?

“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”

“When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them. When they sought to seize Him, they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet.”
Matthew 21:40–46

At the end of His formidable indictment of the Pharisees Jesus quoted Psalm 118:26:

“Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
Matthew 23:38–39

Jesus knew Psalm 118 referred to Himself, and not only that, He told the Pharisees this through His use of this psalm. Leslie M’Caw and J. A. Motyer pointed this out about Psalm 118:22:

“Isaiah (28:16) uses identical terminology about God’s promises to David: it was the error of Hezekiah at that time to seek military security rather than the security of trusting the promises. In standing by His promises, God chooses the stone which the worldly-wise rejected. Cf. Dn. 2:34, 35, 44, 45; Zc. 3:9; 4:7. Stone was obviously in common use as a symbol of Davidic monarchy and a Messianic term.”2

Now think about that for a moment. Jesus knew this. The Pharisees and other religious leaders knew this. He was clearly telling them He was Messiah, and they knew this. Psalm 118 was the final psalm of Passover, and now the Passover Lamb Himself quoted it as He confronted them. Not only Jesus, but the Pharisees themselves would have sung this psalm after Passover, and they, themselves, would have remembered His words.


I am in awe as I think of His use of this psalm timed as it was both to confront and to emphasize who He was as they ate the Passover meal, and that it was probably the last psalm He sang before He as our Passover Lamb went out to face arrest, trial and crucifixion so that death would pass over those of us who believe in Him.

Take the time to read Psalm 118.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
Psalm 118:1


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Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
The Corner Stone (Le pierre angulaire), James Tissot, No known copyright restrictions.
Agnus Dei, Francisco de Zurbarán: Public Domain.
1Derek Kidner, Psalms 73–150, (Inter-Varsity Press: Leiscester, England: 1975) 401. Psalm 118:26 is also quoted in the Gospels in their record of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and Jesus quoted it earlier in His ministry (cf. Luke 13:35).
2Leslie S. M’Caw, J. A. Motyer, “Psalms,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1970) 526.

*The NASB Explanation of General Format has this explanation of their use of an asterisk in translation:

“ASTERISKS are used to mark verbs that are historical presents in the Greek which have been translated with an English past tense in order to conform to modern usage. The translators recognized that in some contexts the present tense seems more unexpected and unjustified to the English reader than a past tense would have been. But Greek authors frequently used the present tense for the sake of heightened vividness, thereby transporting their readers in imagination to the actual scene at the time of occurrence. However, the translators felt that it would be wiser to change these historical presents to English past tenses.”

Original content: Copyright ©2011–2018 Iwana Carpenter

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