Those weren’t the actual words on my computer screen, but they might as well have been. For the past week and a half, every time I attempted to go to my blog I got this instead:
“Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage.”
Every other website is functioning just fine. Except mine. Everyone else can access the blog. Except me. (In fact, the only way I was able to post this was by using Chris’ laptop and an alternate wifi connection.)
This sure feels personal.
It’s as if an invisible wall is keeping me out. My blog remains hidden behind some mysterious cyber-curtain. I feel shut out, closed off, excluded.
I wonder if the ancient Israelites ever felt this way about God…
You see, the Jewish temple was constructed with varying degrees of access:
–If you were a Gentile, you could go no further than the Outer Court.
–Jews could proceed into the Inner Court, but if you were a woman, you could not pass into the Men’s Court.
–Only priests could enter the Court of the Priests, and only certain priests had the privilege of serving, maybe once in their lifetime if they were fortunate, in the Holy Place.
–The high priest alone was allowed access behind a thick, double curtain to the Holy of Holies, where God’s presence dwelt. Even his entrance was restricted to once a year, on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
This diagram illustrates the many “walls within the walls” of the temple:
God must have seemed unapproachable, inaccessible. He had to be worshiped at a safe, assigned distance. One could only get so close. To actually enter His presence was out of the question.
Until Jesus came and changed everything one dark Friday afternoon.
“With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark 15:38-39)
The writer of the book of Hebrews explains the life-altering significance of this event to his Jewish readers:
“Therefore, brothers and sisters…we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body…” (Hebrews 10:19-20)
Like the Iron Curtain, which separated Eastern and Western Europe, the Temple Curtain, which separated God and man, was removed. The Holy of Holies was now open to all who embraced Jesus, the perfect High Priest. Regardless of where we once stood, we have been granted total, unrestricted, glorious access.
“He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:17-18)
“This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.” (Ephesians 3:11-12)
I’ve gotten used to my blog being a mere mouse-click away, and am eager to have my full access restored. But in the meantime, I’m grateful for the reminder that the freedom and confidence I enjoy in approaching a Holy God isn’t something to be taken for granted. Because it wasn’t always this way.
Thank you, Jesus, for making Him accessible to all—Jew, Gentile, man, woman, child. I have a new appreciation for what a breathtaking honor it is to be invited behind the curtain. You so graciously welcome us, treating us like VIPS with full backstage passes. And one day we’ll be ushered into the actual throne room of God in heaven.
It’s unbelievable, really. And yet it’s true.
“Therefore, since we have been justifed through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” (Romans 5:1-2)