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The tearing of this heavy curtain in the temple is highly symbolic. Because this curtain separated the holiest place in the temple from the rest of the temple, some see in this act a symbol of God opening the way for unholy humans to enter into His holy presence: Jesus’ death brought forgiveness and opened the way for all to come to God. Others see in the curtain’s being torn the opposite meaning: God’s presence can no longer be confined to any single geographical place. The suffering and death of Jesus ended one age of human history, and now a new era has begun. Now God is on the move, at large, invading the whole world. Or perhaps this graphic image means both.

Jesus (shouting out loudly): 46 Father, I entrust My spirit into Your hands![a]

And with those words, He exhaled—and breathed no more.

47 The Centurion[b]one of the soldiers who performed the execution—saw all this, and he praised God.

Centurion: No doubt, this man must have been innocent.

48 The crowds of common people who had gathered and watched the whole ordeal through to its conclusion left for their homes, pounding on their own chests in profound grief.

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Footnotes

  1. 23:46 Psalm 31:5
  2. 23:47 A Roman military officer in charge of 100 soldiers