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What Happened When Jesus Died?
4. The curtain in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51 & Luke 23:44). The curtain in the Temple separated God's people, even God's priests, from God's very presence in the inner sanctuary, the Holy of Holies. This thick curtain was necessary to protect God's people from God's holy presence, necessary because of the sin of God's people. Only the High Priest could enter behind that curtain, and then only once per year on the Day of Atonement, to sprinkle the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant with blood.
When Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied, the sin of God's people was covered, and the barrier separating God from His people was removed. This single, wonderful sign is a powerful statement of what Jesus did for us on the cross: By removing our sins, He brought us near to God.
5. Responses: In response to all of these signs, the Roman Centurion who supervised Jesus' crucifixion cried out,"Truly this was the Son of God!" (Mt. 27:54). The crowds of people, who had demanded His crucifixion and who had mocked Him so cruelly as He suffered, "returned home beating their breasts (Luke 23:48)." They knew how wrong they had been. This mourning reflects the language of Zechariah 12:10, "when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn."
6. They laid Him in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man (Matthew 27:57-59; Luke 23:50-53). This was in fulfillment of Isaiah 53:9, a most remarkable verse in the midst of one of the most remarkable chapters in the Bible: