Torn in two (Luke 23 v 44-49)
Jesus had told a condemned criminal he would be with Him in paradise—a life with God, without death. But can a man like that really end up in a place like that
An answer in Eden
Read Genesis 3:22
• What had mankind done (v 22)?
“Knowing” here means “deciding”; an attempt to become like God, to replace Him as King and rule-maker.
• What would mankind no longer be able to do (v22-23)?
• What was the barrier between God and man (v 24)?
So, can an imperfect man like that criminal really end up in perfect life with God?
Answer in Eden: No.
An answer in the tabernacle
1500 years before Jesus lived on earth, as God’s people travelled from Egypt to the promised land of Israel, God told them He would live among them in a tent called the tabernacle. In the centre of the tabernacle was the place where God dwelled in all His perfection, the “ark”; and God told His people to put a curtain around this exact space.
Read Exodus 26:31
• How do the details about this curtain around the ark (v 31) link back to Genesis 3?
• So, what did the curtain around the area where God dwelled represent?
Answer in the tabernacle: No.
An answer on the cross
As God’s people settled in Israel, the movable tabernacle became a permanent temple. God’s ark still had a cherubim-embroidered curtain hung around it.
Read Luke 23:44
• As Jesus hung on the cross, what happened (v 44-45)?
In the Old Testament, unnatural darkness is a sign of God’s judgment falling on rebellious humanity (see Amos 8:9). Yet as the innocent Son of God died on the cross, it was He who bore the rejection from His Father that humans deserve.
• And as He suffered this, what happened to the curtain of separation?
• Why does Jesus’ death enable the barrier between God and man to be torn in two?
And so it is that a man like that criminal, and like us, can end up in a place like paradise.
Answer on the cross: Yes, yes, yes!
Spend some time re-reading Luke's account of the cross.
Pause at the end of each sentence to give thanks for the truths it contains.
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