I’ve talked about my dad on this blog a few times, and now I’m going to talk a little bit about my mom.
Many of you have met my mom, so you know this firsthand: my mom is the sweetest woman on this planet. (She’s the woman who buys Alan orange juice regularly.) She is kind and patient and tolerant. She’s very strong physically, mentally, and spiritually. It’ll take me the rest of my life to know the Bible as well as she does. She’s my biggest supporter. If you ever want to be encouraged or if you ever need a compliment, talk to my mom. Alan has told me two or three times that I should be more like my mom, and he’s probably right. The world would be a better place for it.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say something about how similar a mother’s love is to God’s love. I’d be able to make a much larger payment on my student loans this month if I did. That being said, my mom’s love reminds me a lot of God’s love. My mom sacrifices a lot for me. She gives up her money, time, and preferences to help me or suit me. Sacrifices not nearly as big as God’s, but notable all the same. And she loves me unconditionally. I asked my mom when I was little if she would always love me, no matter what. She told me she would, and she has kept her word. I’ve given my mom ample reason to not love me in the past 23 years, but not once has her love wavered. Oh, she’s been extremely disappointed in me and downright upset with me many times. But she’s never stopped loving me, and that is a true reflection of God’s love.
As we’ve been discussing the past few weeks, God is both powerful and loving, and there is no better example of both than the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
I find the final moments of Jesus on the cross and the first moments right after alternatingly mighty and beautiful. You may be sitting there thinking, “That’s a little twisted, Carrie. I’m not going to lie,” but hear me out here.
According to Matthew 27:50-53, it was quite an experience. Jesus’s spirit was released and the earth opened up. Tombs opened up, and people rose from the dead. The veil in the Temple ripped completely.
Other accounts say the sky darkened, almost like it was nighttime. I imagine a wind rushed by, down the streets of Jerusalem, turning leaves over on the trees, hard into the faces of Jesus’s accusers. As the earth shook, people looked around in shock and terror.
I find all of that powerful. And I find it beautiful (in a poetic way, I suppose) that all of it was the divine and natural reaction to the world losing the greatest man it would ever know.
When it happened, it was a big deal. Everyone knew something huge happened even if they didn’t know exactly what it was.
The veil being torn is a big deal. I won’t go as into it as Alan did Sunday, but I do feel the need to speak a little bit about it for the readers who weren’t there. Before the death of Jesus, there was one day every year when there were animal sacrifices made for everyone’s sins. And the priest would enter the most sacred place in the Temple, called the Holy of Holies, which was sectioned off by a think veil (or curtain), and pray for the people.
We think that’s nice and awesome that the veil was ripped, but Matthew’s readers would’ve been positively stunned by it. Of the four gospels, Matthew’s is by far the most Jewish. It’s important to know your audience when writing, and Matthew knew his well. He opens his book with a family tree filled with important people in Jewish history and brings it to a close shortly after saying that a crucial part of their beloved Temple was both unnecessary and ruined.
The average person’s access to God until that point sounded a lot like commercials you see for a really good sale.
“One day only!”
“While supplies last!”
“Limited time offer.”
God was tired of that and rightfully so. He wanted each of us to have unlimited access to Him and His mercies. He wanted to prove that He was bigger than that lovely Temple.
He wanted to make each of us temples. Beings who house the love and power of God. He doesn’t care what the temple looks like, how grand or pretty it is. He simply cares about the inside, how clean it is and its availability.
That’s a great representation of God – powerful enough to destroy the pride and joy of a city and loving enough to give us access to such a force. Big enough to cause an earthquake, loving enough to shake us and wake us up.
By Carrie Prevette