|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:33-41 There was a thick darkness over the land, from noon until three in the afternoon. The Jews were doing their utmost to extinguish the Sun of Righteousness. The darkness signified the cloud which the human soul of Christ was under, when he was making it an offering for sin. He did not complain that his disciples forsook him, but that his Father forsook him. In this especially he was made sin for us. When Paul was to be offered as a sacrifice for the service saints, he could joy and rejoice, Php 2:17; but it is another thing to be offered as a sacrifice for the sin of sinners. At the same instant that Jesus died, the veil of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom. This spake terror to the unbelieving Jews, and was a sign of the destruction of their church and nation. It speaks comfort to all believing Christians, for it signified the laying open a new and living way into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. The confidence with which Christ had openly addressed God as his Father, and committed his soul into his hands, seems greatly to have affected the centurion. Right views of Christ crucified will reconcile the believer to the thought of death; he longs to behold, love, and praise, as he ought, that Saviour who was wounded and pierced to save him from the wrath to come.
Verse 38. - And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. There were two veils - one before the holy place, and the other before the holy of holies. The holy place would correspond to what we call the nave of the church, in which the priests were continually present; the holy of holies would correspond to our chancel choir - the holiest part of the building. This was always kept closed; nor might any one enter it but the high priest, and that only once in the year, on the day of expiation. The veil which was rent at our Lord's death was that which was placed before the holy of holies; it was called the καταπέτασμα. The outer veil was called κάλυμμα. It was the duty of the officiating priest, on the evening of the day of preparation, at the hour of evening prayer, which would correspond to the time of our Lord's death, to enter into the holy place, where he would of course be between the two curtains, or veils, the outer veil, or κάλυμμα, and the inner veil, or καταπέτασμα It would then be his business to roll back the κάλυμμα, or outer veil, thus exposing the holy place to the people, who would be in the. outer court. And then and there they would see, to their amazement, the καραπέτασμα, the inner veil, rent asunder from the top to the bottom. These veils or curtains, according to Josephus, were each forty cubits in height and ten in breadth, of great substance, very massive, and richly embroidered with gold and purple. Now, this rending of the veil signified
(1) that the whole of the Jewish dispensation, with its rites and ceremonies, was now unfolded by Christ; and that thenceforth the middle wall of partition was broken down, so that now, not the Jews only, but the Gentiles also might draw nigh by the blood of Christ. But
(2) it further signified that the way to heaven was laid open by our Lord's death. "When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers." The veil signified that heaven was closed to all, until Christ by his death rent this veil in twain, and laid open the way.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the vail of the temple was rent in twain, from the top to the bottom. At which time also there was an earthquake, and the rocks were rent, and graves were opened, as Matthew relates; see Gill on Matthew 27:51, Matthew 27:52.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Mr 15:38-47. Signs and Circumstances Following the Death of the Lord Jesus.—He Is Taken Down from the Cross and Buried—The Sepulchre Is Guarded. ( = Mt 27:51-66; Lu 23:45, 47-56; Joh 19:31-42).
See on Mt 27:51-56; and Joh 19:31-42.
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