Digging in Deeper: Mark 15:37-39

“Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed his last. Then the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion, who was standing opposite him, saw the way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Did you ever have anything as a kid that your parents made off limits to you? What was it? Sometimes parents put restrictions on what their kids can access as a matter of selfish convenience, but most of the time, they do it for an entirely better reason than that. My parents made throwing dirt clods from the garden at the shed off limits for me when I was growing up. If you’re wondering why they had to do that at all, just put yourself in the mind of an elementary-aged boy and you’ll understand. The explosion of dirt when those clods hit the wall of the shed was just so satisfying. I ignored this restriction, of course, and soon thereafter broke the window in the side of the shed with an errant throw. That was why they put that restriction in place, by the way. Other times a restriction is put in place because the thing on the other side of the line is genuinely harmful for us. There are fences and no trespassing signs around power substations. Those are to protect people from being electrocuted. Restrictions generally have reasons. Well, the people of Israel had a restriction around God. You didn’t go into His presence unless you were prepared for it. This restriction was actually put in place by God Himself. And it held until God took it down. Actually, He ripped it in half. I mentioned yesterday the tearing of the temple veil when Jesus died. This morning let’s dig a little deeper into just what that meant.

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Morning Musing: Mark 13:1-4

“As he was going out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Teacher, look! What massive stones! What impressive buildings!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another – all will be thrown down.’ While he was sitting on the Mount of Olives across from the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, ‘Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been to Washington, D.C.? The capital city is truly a wonder of human engineering and architecture. Now, the city itself is a mess. It’s been poorly run for decades. It is generally an uneasy mashup of the very wealthy and the very poor. Its cost of living is sky high. Its crime rate is high and the quality of its school system is low. And the weather is pretty awful most of the time. Except as a matter of pure convenience, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to live there. But when you get to the National Mall, all of that is completely forgotten as you stand in awe and wonder at the beauty surrounding you on all sides. It was designed to impress and it certainly does. It conveys the strength and power of the United States, her people, and her government in a way few other things accomplish. It suggests a permanence that nothing can touch. The temple complex in Jerusalem suggested many of the same things and was built for many of the same purposes. Yet when His disciples stopped to marvel at the whole thing, Jesus gave them a dose of reality that hit like a bucket of cold water. This is a dose of reality we could use ourselves. Let’s talk about it.

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