There were a number of unusual events surrounding the death of Jesus Christ. There was darkness over the land for three hours. This must have generated great fear and wonderment. The veil of the temple was torn in two. This curtain was approximately 42 feet high and 15 feet wide. What did the priests think who entered the temple or who were in the temple when this took place? They would have been able to see into the Holy of Holies—a place that only the High Priest was allowed to enter once a year! The earth quaked and rocks were split open. Many graves had been opened and many bodies were raised after Christ’s resurrection. Can you imagine having a parent, child or relative who had been dead for months come walking back into your house? The shock you would experience with everyone else who knew that person. These events did not happen in a corner. They were precursors to the signs and wonders that occurred on the day of Pentecost.
The religious leaders were so concerned that the disciples of Christ would come and steal His body that they requested the tomb be guarded. A great earthquake occurred, and an angel rolled back the stone. The guards saw the angel whose appearance was like lightning, and they feared and shook. They reported these events to the religious leaders who were aware that something supernatural had occurred. The religious leaders willingly rejected the testimony of the guards. All of these events were capped off by additional signs and wonders on Pentecost. The Old Testament Church started with many signs and wonders, and so did the New Testament Church. God drew attention by the type of signs performed to a transition that was taking place. God was going to reform the way that man worshipped God by personalizing the approach.
As recorded in the Old Testament, when God chose Israel, He gave them the Levitical priesthood. God established a tabernacle and then a temple at which His people would worship Him. God states the reason for this from God’s perspective in Exodus 25:8-9: He wanted to dwell among them. Only the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies, where God’s throne was, once a year on the Day of Atonement. The Israelites did not have direct access to the tabernacle or temple—it was only through a physical priesthood that they could approach God in their worship. The way into the Holiest of All was not yet manifested (Hebrews 9:1-10).
When Jesus Christ came to the earth He dwelt among us humans (John 1:14). The Greek word for “dwelt,” skenoo, means He “tabernacled” or “tented” among us. God literally dwelt among men in the flesh. Notice what God did once the New Testament Church started—He established the Church as the Spiritual Temple today (Ephesians 2:19-22). God dwells in us, and our High Priest Jesus Christ dwells in us. Jesus has made it possible for us to have direct access to God. How was this accomplished? By the blood of Jesus Christ: “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Hebrews 10:19-20, emphasis added).
Jesus said that “no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to come before God—to approach Him. We can boldly come to the Father in great confidence that He listens to our prayers and intervenes on our behalf (Ephesians 3:12-13). Jesus Christ is our High Priest. He appears in the presence of the Father for us. He intervenes on our behalf (Hebrews 9:24 and 4:14-16). He pleads our case for us.
Stop and think about it: We are able to talk directly to the most important Being in the universe, God the Father. Through Christ Jesus, we have access to the Father. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father in Mathew 6:9 and to end our prayers by saying it all in the name of Jesus Christ. Asking in His name implies that we ask by His authority. We can have God’s attention—He cares for us and we are His family; His sons and daughters. We have direct contact with the most loving, giving, serving, merciful and grace-filled Being there is (Ephesians 2:18).
Our Father knows us personally and we can have an intimate relationship with Him. Too often we fall short in keeping that access with God as vibrant and dynamic as it can be. Remember all that God has done to make it possible for you and me to have a special connection with Him. Our prayers should not become a ritual, but a literal conversation with our loving Father. When you pray, never forget the privilege you have to carry on a conversation with God Himself—your Father.
There is coming a time when our Father will dwell with His family and we will have all eternity to get to know Him and for God to know us (Revelation 21:1-3). Cultivate that relationship daily through your prayers and awareness of God in your life. That relationship will have eternity to deepen and grow in the future Kingdom of God.