Two days ago I was at the Wailing Wall, that portion of the western wall of the Temple in Jerusalem where millions of pilgrims go each year. Some friends asked me to pray for them there. By all means, my prayers for them in Atlanta would be equally effective, but I obliged. I took this photo to prove it. (I obscured the prayer and their names.)
Above and over the Wailing Wall is the Temple Mount on which the Temple once stood. The Romans destroyed the Temple in A.D. 70. Today, there’s a Muslim shrine called the Dome of the Rock in that location.
Besides praying for my friends, as I was touching the wall and praying, I had this thought: This wall exists because of my sins. This massive building was built in the first place because of my sins (and the sins of everyone else, of course). And as I peer up to the top of the wall and imagine the Temple, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies—the small room of the Temple where the Holy Spirit dwelt, into which only one person, the high priest, was allowed to enter, and then only once a year—I think, I could never scale this wall to reach God on the other side.
This wall represents the barrier that my own sin placed between me and God. “If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3)
Indeed, ultra-orthodox Jews won’t even walk on the Temple Mount above (unlike Gentiles like me who will do so later today), for fear of treading on the place where the Holy of Holies once stood. For them, this wall is literally as close as they can get to God.
And so it would be for me—not only a sinner but a Gentile sinner, a double outsider.
But God’s Son Jesus did everything necessary for me, not only to enter the Holy of Holies, but to have the Holy Spirit living within me! When Christ died, the thick curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple was torn from top to bottom. Through faith in Christ, nothing needs to separate us from God! This means my sins are forgiven; I am sanctified; I am made perfectly righteous, not with my own righteousness but with the righteousness of Christ! “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Thank you, Jesus!