Sweat beads on your brow, tears start to fill the corners of your eyes, the sounds of a drum can be heard that resembling the booming of an orchestra kettle drum; it’s coming from your heart. You’ve been given permission from her father and now by the pastor. You hear the words you’ve been waiting for, “I now pronounce you husband and wife…you may kiss your bride.” Your fingers clasp the veil that separates her face from yours. After removing the garment of separation you lean in to kiss the lips of one who will fight by your side, each day, for the rest of your blessed life. Its official, you’re married.
During Jesus’ day, the temple was where God dwelt. It was not only a holy location it was “the” holy location and the center of Jewish religious life. At the temple, animal sacrifices would be carried out and worship would occur according to the Law of Moses. Hebrews 9:1-9 tells us that in the temple a garment of separation hung in order to divide the Holy of Holies, the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence, from the rest of the temple where men dwelt. “Sinful man” was separated from a “holy God” (Isaiah 59:1-2). Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil once each year into God’s presence for all of Israel and make atonement for their sins (Leviticus 16).
This veil that hung in the temple prohibited kisses from God to man! Let’s check out this curtain: Solomon's temple was 30 cubits high (1 Kings 6:2), but Herod had increased the height to 40 cubits, according to the writings of Josephus, a first century Jewish historian. There is uncertainty as to the exact measurement of a cubit, but it is safe to assume that this veil was somewhere close to 60 feet high. Josephus also tells us that the veil was four inches thick and that horses tied to each side could not pull it apart. The book of Exodus teaches that this thick veil was fashioned from blue, purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen.
Now check out Matthew 27:50-51: And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.
The veil was lifted! No more separation!! A kiss was possible!!! A personal, intimate relationship with God was now paid for in full, with blood. This kiss of God brings us to repentance, it restores us, but it doesn’t then leave us alone to do our own thing. The kiss propels us out. The kiss motivates us to do what Jesus did. The kiss unites us. The kiss at work in our lives empowers us with everything we need to minister restoration to a fractured world. The world is still separated from God’s face by their own sin, but they don’t have to be. The veil has been lifted and they only need to look up, believe, and wait to be changed by the most lovely kisses of kisses.
Thu, October 1, 2009
by Darren Stott filed under