By Robert E. Henson
Mark 15:37-39 says:
“And Jesus cried with aloud voice, and gave up the ghost.
And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.
And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.”
The term 24/7 is one that has come into prominent use in the last decade is used primarily with reference to businesses that never close. The designation 24/7 indicates that the store is always open and that the services are continually available.
Mercy, as we know it, was not always available 24/7. The Old Testament pointedly stipulates that the Day of Atonement came only once each year. On that special day, and only on that day, the High Priest would enter beyond the sacred veil and into the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle or Temple. There, the High Priest would offer blood to make atonement for the sins of the people—sins that had accumulated over the last year.
Please note this carefully—there was no such thing back then as just slipping into the Holy of Holies on an ordinary day to seek atonement and pardon. Nor did a person resort there in the middle of the night because he or she felt compunction to pray and seek God’s mercy. In fact, the common person could never enter there. The average citizen, or even the elite, could not make his or her personal appeal at the Mercy Seat. The Holy of Holies was accessible only to one man, the High Priest, and even to him it was only open for business one day out of each year!
The Crucifixion Of Jesus
Each of the four New Testament gospel writers gives us vivid accounts and important details about the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Three of the four include a most fascinating and significant reference to the veil of the Temple.
The Temple was located some 600 yards—more than a quarter of a mile—from the place of the execution of Jesus. Yet, coinciding precisely with the time of the expiration of Jesus, the veil in the Temple was miraculously rent in two.
This was a deliberate tearing. So much so that a witness or wit-nesses saw it happen and watched in awe as it came apart. The Scriptures dutifully note that the tearing of this thick and sacred fabric occurred from the top to the bottom, thus indicating it was an action from heaven.
According to Jewish authorities, the veil was made of strong fabric and was tightly woven. It was at least four inches thick. It was checked yearly to be sure it had not deteriorated in any way. It has been stated that a pair of oxen hooked to each end of the veil could not have ripped it in two.
A casual observer may think this event interesting and move on without further inquiry, but not so with those who understand the significance of that veil. That veil had been a divine barricade to keep out the masses of humanity. Mercy, in a certain sense, had been imprisoned behind that divinely instituted wall.
But now the barricade was down! The gate was open! In fact, the gate was left open! Entrance and access for all persons desiring God’s pardon was opened up and made available.
It should also be noted that the veil was rent “in the midst” or in the middle. This was no side entrance. The veil was opened immediately in front of the Mercy Seat. Direct access was thereby granted to God’s mercy.
The day that Jesus died is the day mercy became available 24/7!
What 24/7 Mercy Means to You and Me
The split veil extends to us an open door for repentance. We can repent anywhere and at any time of the day or night. What a privilege, and what an opportunity!
It means that we can come as often as necessary. We can receive as much mercy as we need, for the supply is inexhaustible.
It indicates that God’s mercy is fully efficacious to meet our deepest need of forgiveness. Oh, how appreciative and thankful we all should be for the day mercy became available 24/7!
The Price Jesus Paid to Offer Us Peace
In Isaiah 53:4-5, we read:
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
Please observe carefully the proofs listed by the Prophet Isaiah as provided by Jesus in regard to His Messianic claims:
- He bore or shouldered our griefs and carried our sorrows to His cross;
- He didn’t just verbalize empathy—He quite literally took the load of all our disappointments upon himself;
- He was wounded (external) for our transgressions (violations of God’s commands);
- He was bruised (internal) for our iniquities (moral impurities);
- The chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and,
- With His stripes we are healed.
This is what Jesus did for us at Calvary. This was the sacrifice that was necessary for you and me to have peace. The cost for Jesus was the mental and physical toll of being stricken, which literally means to be afflicted with something overwhelming, as strong emotion or trouble.
Jesus vicariously took our place on the cross. Isaiah declared, “The chastisement of our peace was upon Him.” The key word is chastisement. It comes from the Hebrew word mucar. As used in Isaiah 53:5, mucar, according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, means the dis¬cipline or punishment meted out when one refuses to listen to instruction.
Quite literally, the Prophet Isaiah is informing us that Jesus paid the price so that we could still find peace, even though we originally refused to obey the given instruction. What a Savior!
A Macro View of God’s Peace
The Hebrew word for peace in Isaiah 53:5 is shalom. It literally means to destroy the authority of the one who binds us to chaos. Jesus did this for us. He destroyed the authority of the one who binds us to chaos. No one in this world has the price for us to have peace.
A good transliteration of this word peace is to sever the connection with chaos. Jesus does this for persons who turn to Him with all of their heart and soul. He severs the connection to chaos.
Consider the episode revealed in Mark 4:39, which says,
“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
His voice in our lives can still cause the wind to cease. He continues to replace great storms with a great calm. With those words, “Peace, be still,” the connection with chaos is effectively severed in our lives and minds.
The Master did this for the disciples in John 20:19:
“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”
When some great personages step into a room, there is a sense of awe. When Jesus steps into our midst, there is not only that sense of pro-found awe, there is also a pervasive sense of a deep and abiding peace.
This was the very reason that Jesus Christ came in the flesh into this world. Luke gives this testimony in Luke 2:14, saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Jesus came in the flesh in order that on earth the authority of the one who binds us to chaos might be completely destroyed. He came to offer us The Way to sever our personal connection to chaos.
The Cost of Rejecting the Peace that God Gives
Our focus in this book is on God’s mercy. Perhaps, though, we should briefly consider the fate of those who reject God’s mercy and peace.
In Luke 19, Jesus viewed the city of Jerusalem and wept over it. Notice His lament in verse 42.
“If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.”
Jesus was distressed that Jerusalem was rejecting God’s offer peace. Notice what He predicted would follow this rejection of peace. recorded in Luke 19:43-44.
“For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest Nat the time of thy visitation.”
The price is always extremely high when a person rejects God’s peace in his or her life. One reason that the price is so ‘high is because such rejection is so senseless.
The Way to Peace
In Mark 5:34, Jesus spoke to the woman with the issue of blood. Traditional history tells us her name was Veronica. Pay close attention to Jesus’ words to her: “And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”
The phrase go in peace catches my attention here. In the Greek, the phrase is literally go into peace. Jesus severed her connection to chaos. She would now have something new and extraordinary in her life. In her future there was a genuine opportunity for peace.
This is His offer to each of us. Read again John 14:27.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Romans 14:17 gives us an additional understanding about this peace.
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in
the Holy Ghost.”
Acts 2:38 speaks to us as to how we should prepare to receive this peace found in the Holy Spirit.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
There are tremendous benefits for us in the peace that God gives. Consider with me the proclamation of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:7.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
In Acts 3:19, the Apostle Peter told an inquiring crowd these words of command and hope.
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”
The great news for those who are without the peace that God gives is that the door of old-fashioned repentance is still open. Mercy is still available. Today it is still open 24/7.
There is a day coming when the gate of mercy to the gospel will be closed. I urge you not to wait until it’s too late to seek the Lord. Come to Him while mercy is still open for business.
Another songwriter of yesteryear, William R. Newell, summed it up in these melodious words:
“Mercy there was great and grace was free,
Pardon there was multiplied to me,
There my burdened soul found liberty,
The above article, “The Day Mercy Became Available 24/7,” is written by Robert E. Henson. The article is the fifth chapter of Henson’s book Marvelous Mercy, which was published in 2004.
The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study and research purposes.