Topic:A Heart Wide Open
A DAILY DEVOTION FOR JANUARY 29TH
READ THE SCRIPTURE: MARK 15:21-47
Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
Mark 15:38 NKJV
Perhaps one of the priests told Mark about the veil. But for sheer drama there is nothing like this in all of recorded history. This cry in the darkness of the cross, the dismissing of the spirit of Jesus, and the rending of the veil in the temple—Mark brings them all together in order that we might understand what these events mean. As Jesus’ cry rang out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? there must have been many in the crowd who recognized that it was the opening words of Psalm 22. If you want to get the background and atmosphere of the cross, read that psalm through. There is no adequate explanation for the question that Jesus asked except that which Scripture itself gives, God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Then there comes the loud cry of dismissal and the rending of the veil. Why did the veil split in two? It was God’s dramatic way of saying for all time and for all people that the way into His heart is wide open. God is not planning revenge. All those who gathered around the cross in hatred and malice against Jesus—every one of them is welcome to come back. That is what the rent veil means. The penalty has been paid for the hateful, the cruel, the ignorant, the selfish, the empty-headed thrill seekers. The way is wide open, and God is waiting to restore the hopeless, the helpless, and the fearful.
When I was just a young Christian, in my early twenties, I read a message by D. L. Moody that I have never forgotten. It was the great evangelist’s imaginative description of what happened after Jesus rose from the dead. Moody says He gathered His disciples in Jerusalem and said to them, Men, I want you to go and find the priests who mocked me, who hurled in my teeth the taunt, ‘He saved others, himself he could not save.’ Explain to them that if I had saved myself; they would have been doomed men. But tell them there is a way wide open. The book of Acts says that as Peter and the other disciples preached in Jerusalem a large number of priests became obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7).
Moody said that Jesus said to the disciples, Go find the soldiers who cast lots for my garments, for my seamless robe, and tell them that there is a far greater treasure awaiting them if they will come to me. They shall have not a seamless robe, but a spotless heart. All their guilt can be washed away; all their callous cruelty can be forgiven if they come. Find the centurion who thrust his spear into my side and tell him there is a closer way to my heart if he will come, just as a sinner needing forgiveness.
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In this beautiful scene of the rending of the veil at the moment of the death of Jesus, God is saying that the way to Him is open to us, despite the wrong attitudes we so frequently have had toward Him.
Father, may I lay hold of that great word, God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. I know of no greater wonder in all the universe than this.
If the cross of Christ is not to us the greatest wonder in the universe, it may well be we have not grasped its astounding impact and the timeless benefits of His death.