When we first start dating someone, we pay more attention to how we are perceived and how we carry ourselves. Our makeup is done, our hair is brushed and our legs are shaved. We use proper manners at dinner and try to hide the snort when we laugh.
As we grow in comfort with our boyfriend, we make messy buns our go-to and a burp or two might slip out. When that relationship enters the marriage phase, all bets are off. Bathroom doors aren’t always closed. Morning breath is a regular occurrence. And the veil of propriety is lifted away to show our true authentic self.
A lot of times we tend to treat our time with Christ as those first days of dating, where we have to look just right out of fear that if we show our true selves, we’ll immediately be rejected and turned down. We see this fear eradicated during Christ’s crucifixion.
The Crucifixion and the Tabernacle
Matthew 27 vividly recounts the harrowing moments of Christ’s crucifixion, a narrative not unique to this Gospel but distinguished by its inclusion of critical details absent in the accounts of Mark, Luke, and John. The passage chronicles the relentless mockery, humiliation, torture, and eventual crucifixion of Christ. However, what makes this account truly remarkable are the numerous extraordinary events that unfolded with Christ’s final breath. The earth quaked, rocks split asunder, the deceased were resurrected and, significantly, the sacred veil was torn.
In order to understand the significance of the veil being torn, we have to journey all the way back to the Old Testament and the creation of the tabernacle. Before Christ, in the time of Moses, there were strict guidelines in Jewish law regarding the creation, design, and arrangement of the tabernacle. The tabernacle would be the place where the Israelites would sacrifice their offerings for atonement and where the priests would go to encounter God. The Ark of the Covenant was within the walls of the Holy of Holies and only those appointed by God could approach. This is where God resided.
The Ark of the Covenant is described in Hebrew 9:4, “having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.” It’s where God would go and meet the High Priest and communicate with him. The high priest would be able to enter into the Holy of Holies once a year (Hebrews 9:7) after an extensive cleansing ritual.
The veil was what blocked the “everyday persons” from approaching the Holy of Holies. It was what separated the two. It was treated with great reverence and sacredness. When the tabernacle became a permanent structure in the form of the Temple, the same arrangement of the Holy of Holies and veil were still contained inside the Temple walls.
Some commentators on the actual physical makeup of the veil refer to it as being 3-6 inches thick. It wasn’t meant to be the sheer white tulle of a wedding veil. No, this veil was a hearty gathering of fabric. So when the veil was torn, it wasn’t as if a person walked up and split it in two—it was something that might have needed the ‘jaws of life’ to split.
The Meaning Behind the Veil
Insert Jesus. When the veil was torn it signified a beautiful representation of the new covenant that God created with his people through Jesus Christ. The people no longer had be a high priest or go through rounds of purification to be able to approach the altar of God and come into his presence via the Holy of Holies. When Jesus died and the veil was torn, we were able to step into the presence of God, not through anyone else but Jesus.
We don’t need to be sanctified because it was done through Jesus on the cross. We don’t need to be purified because it was done through Jesus on the cross. We can trust God with our mess because of Jesus on the cross. He paid it all for us on that cross and when the veil was torn, God’s presence was not limited to a room but was able to reside within us.
Approach Him Just As You Are—He Knows We’re Not Perfect!
So, what prevents you from approaching God just as you are? You no longer need to fear approaching Him. We’re not on a first date. We are on a first-name, kick-your-shoes-off-and-put-your-feet-on-the-couch kind of relationship. There’s no need to sanitize, purify, or sanctify yourself before coming before His throne. You can bask in His glory, knowing that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross purifies and sanctifies you.
Personally, I’ve often been limited by the false belief that I must ‘hyper-spiritualize’ my prayers, actions, or behavior to connect with God. Attempting to conceal things from God only demonstrates a lack of faith in His omniscience, as if He doesn’t already know. Feelings of guilt, shame, and uncertainty have all held me back from experiencing true intimacy and closeness with God. When we approach Jesus, we can confidently trust Him with our mess and brokenness.
Romans 8:38-39 reminds us, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Nothing, not even the veil or false presentation of ourselves, can hinder our access to Jesus, and it was His sacrifice on the cross that enables us to trust Him with our imperfections and struggles.
Do you trust that Jesus loves you unconditionally? If you’re unsure where you relationship with Him lies, we encourage you to take a listen to this podcast episode: The Beauty of Our Imperfect Lives with Jesus – 209