Weekly Blog: When God’s Heart Broke
Nov 25, 2019 1902
The Gospels tell us that at the conclusion of the traumatic events at the cross, Jesus breathed his last with a loud cry. Immediately, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Mark 15:37-38).
The tearing of the curtain has deep meaning in terms of what is says about the accomplishment of Christ at Calvary for our salvation, and about the Jewish rituals which pointed to his work. However, it has an even more primal meaning.
It was a Jewish practice to tear one’s clothing in moments of deepest calamity and grief. For example, King David tore his clothing when he heard that his son Absalom had killed his brothers (2 Sam 13:31). There are many other examples of this custom in the Bible, including Gen 37:29; Gen 44:13; and 1 Sam 4:12.
There are many ways to understand the meaning of the temple in the Bible. For the Jews, the temple was where the holiness of God dwelt. The Most Holy Place, behind the curtain, was, as the name itself says, the holiest of all. It represented the heart of God. It’s difficult not to see the tearing of the curtain in the temple as symbolically indicating the cry of anguish from the Father, as his heart broke.
During his ministry, the Father twice announced Jesus as his beloved Son. The first occasion was at his baptism:
And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17, NIV).
The second occasion was at the transfiguration:
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”(Matt 17:5).
In this way, the Father sealed the start and the end of Christ’s ministry with affirmations of his love for him.
The Father’s broken heart released an infinite torrent of love.
In fact, as Jesus looks towards his death, he states that the culmination of all the reasons why the Father loves him:
The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life(John 10:17, NIV).
The Father’s heart broke when he saw his Son voluntarily lay down his life. The Father’s broken heart released an infinite torrent of love, which flowed through Christ, and raised him from the dead (2 Cor 5:19; Gal 1:1). Because of it, whoever believes in him will have eternal life (John 3:16).
The curtain that was torn ripped in two was a sign on earth of the broken heart of the Father. It pointed to the ultimate revelation of the love of God; to what Christ had achieved at Calvary. It’s not that there was no love before, but instead, that the magnitude of God’s love for the world had finally been revealed. That’s why Jesus said,
…when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself(John 12:32, NLT).
That’s for you too. The way is open. Just come.
– Eliezer Gonzalez