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.”

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…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 ©2010-2020 EthalenSkye

©2015-2020 Iwana Carpenter

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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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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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Psalm 118: A Passover Song

Psalm 118 is the last psalm of the ‘Egyptian Hallel.’ It is a song of Passover. Derek Kidner explains:

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

Psalm 118 was first heard this week as Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday with the crowds both in front and following Him shouting the words of verse 26:

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord

Jesus quoted Psalm 118 later in His confrontation with the Pharisees, using verses 22–23 to clearly identify Himself as Messiah.

The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.

The Pharisees knew this and understood He was indicting them!

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 21:42

Then at the end of His formidable indictment of the Pharisees Jesus himself quoted verse 26 that the crowd had shouted in praise a few days earlier.

Remember Kidner wrote that Psalms 113–118 “were probably the last psalms our Lord sang before His passion (Mk. 14:26)”? Psalm 118 was the final psalm of Passover. Not only Jesus, but the Pharisees, after having heard this Psalm throughout the week, would probably have sung this psalm after their Passover, and they, themselves, would have remembered His words.

After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Mark 14:26

I am in awe as I think of how Psalm 118 was used this week: in the praises of the crowds, and in Jesus’ use of it both to confront and to emphasize who He was. And then, after He had eaten the Passover meal with His disciples it was probably the last psalm He sang before He, our Passover Lamb, went out to pray in agony in Gethsemane, and face betrayal, 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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Agnus Dei, Francisco de Zurbarán: Public Domain.
1Derek Kidner, Psalms 73–150, (Inter-Varsity Press: Leiscester, England: 1975) 401.
Psalm 118:22 is also quoted in Acts, Ephesians, and 1 Peter, referring to Jesus as the Cornerstone. Psalm 118:6 is quoted in Hebrews 13:6. And Psalm 118:20 is echoed in the final chapter in the Bible in Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.” By His blood we are made righteous and can enter into the new Jerusalem!

Original content: Copyright ©2011–2020 Iwana Carpenter

Posted in Easter, God, Jesus Christ, Judgment, Love, Lovingkindness, Mercy, New Life, Sin, Suffering | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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 not only spoke to them about Himself and the events coming on the heels of that evening, but He spoke of their lives together and the suffering they would face as His disciples. He reassured them of His continuing presence and care even as He told them what the world would do to them because they were His.

But before he even said anything about how they were to live with each other, 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

Jesus taught by example the humility of service they were to live out amongst each other, and then explained His actions with His words. In the course of that evening He would give the disciples a new command, teaching by His words what He would the next day demonstrate by His example. Remember only two days earlier they had heard Jesus say that the greatest command was to love God, and the second greatest, to love their neighbor.

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

As He talked with them, Jesus repeated His new command, setting this 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.1

“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 in the above photo. 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 command Jesus gave the night before He died would be taken soberly and seriously by His disciples and obeyed. Alas, it is 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 the 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 too often 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 defined love with characteristics we can see and recognize—attitudes and actions that flow from a changed mind and heart. Love is a fruit of the Spirit—not an ornament hung on a tree.2

“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 anew to humble service for one another and to laying-down-life love for one another.

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By Giovanni Giuliani Christus wäscht dem heiligen Petrus die Füße (Christ washing the feet of saint Peter).   – Own work Wolfgang Sauber, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link Cropped from the photograph.
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.
1Francis 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.
2As I first heard the fruit the Spirit described almost fifty years ago.
3Wikipedia, Maundy Thursday.

Original content: Copyright ©2014–2020 Iwana Carpenter

Posted in Christian Life, Church, Doctrine, Easter, God, Jesus Christ, Love, Sin, Trumpets | Tagged , , | Leave a comment