Jesus was crucified, just as God had planned. The Chief Priests of the Jews had given an innocent man to Pilate, and while Pilate tried to have him released through their customary giving away of one of the prisoners, the people called for his death and Pilate accommodated their desires.
As Jesus died, an amazing thing happened. The curtain that was found in the temple setting apart and separating the Holy of Holies was split in two:
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, the rocks splitMatthew 27:50-51
So what is going on here? Why would the curtain be torn in two?
In the original representation of the temple, the Tabernacle, there was a curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple. In that place, the ark of the covenant was placed and the High Priest was the only one that could enter into that room, and only on the Day of Atonement, once per year. God would then appear in a cloud over the ark to appear to the High Priest.
And that was it… That was the only connection that God would make with his people, through the High Priest.
But now Jesus had been sacrificed and made atonement for the sins for all people. Once for all, for all sins past, present, and future because his sacrifice was perfect. He had not sinned. He didn’t deserve to be killed, and yet he was given for all of their sins.
Jesus was, and is now, our High Priest before God and his death gave us direct access to God, and it was for this reason that the curtain was torn in two. No longer would God need to be separated behind a curtain. For those that Christ made holy, God could dwell with them. The curtain is now torn and the Spirit of God has come to dwell amongst His people.
This is an amazing thing to consider: God Himself, through the Holy Spirit, comes to dwell with His people. As believers in Christ, we receive an amazing gift, the gift of the Holy Spirit, who dwells with us. He lives inside of us. Teaching us, counseling us, leading and guiding us. He gives us new life, spiritual life that we didn’t have before. As we walk with Him, we produce the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are what the Holy Spirit helps us to do if we will walk with Him on a daily basis.
So this is why the curtain in the temple was torn in two. God has come to live with His people.