Last week we read of Jesus’ last moments before His death. Among the New Testament writers, only John was an eyewitness. But there were many testimonies to Jesus’ death – and to His resurrection – both within scripture and in secular history. And there are three often-neglected testimonies right here in this passage.
The first is the curtain of the temple – torn top to bottom (Mk. 15:38). This curtain was not made of some light fabric. This was a huge, 60′ x 30′ drapery made of 72twisted plaits of 24 threads each, mounted on a gold-coated frame, which separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. This curtain symbolized the separation between sinful man and Holy God. Only the High Priest could enter – and only once a year. He had to go through a rigorous cleansing and preparation process, and even then had to tie a rope around himself so he could be dragged out in the event he possessed any sin and God struck him dead. The torn curtain testified to the end of the separation between man and God. See Hebrews 9:11-10:22 for a full explanation.
The second testimony was by the Roman centurion, who witnessed the three hours of total darkness (Mk. 15:33), felt the earthquake (Mt. 27:51) and heard Jesus’ cry. As he stood before Jesus on the cross, he said, “Surely this Man was the Son of God.” (Mk. 15:39).
Finally, Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome, among others. These were the women who saw to Jesus’ needs during His earthly ministry in Galilee. How easy it is to forget those who provide for our care during our lives – we take them for granted. Jesus Didn’t. He saw to it that they were named here at this most important moment in history – and again when He rose (Mk. 16:1).
No just court in the world would reject these testimonies. How can you?