Monday, February 27, 2012

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The final week leading up to Christ's death and resurrection is known as His "Passion Week" because of the intense suffering our Lord experienced. It's almost unthinkable how much our Lord packed into one week -- from His symbolic anointing by Mary, to His triumphal entry, to His cleansing of the temple, to His controversial "woes," to His Olivet Discourse on the second coming, to His Last Supper. Through it all, the Son of Man stayed focused on His mission and "loved us to the uttermost" (John 13:1).

We must not forget that Jesus' death and resurrection were real events that took place in space and time. This is not the stuff of fairy tales. You can hop on a jet today, and in less than 24 hours, see the very place where Jesus died and rose again. The traditional site of Golgotha and the Empty tomb is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. To learn more about this famous church, I encourage you to watch this 3-D video.

All I remember from visiting the tomb years ago was the smell of incense; the dark, cold, maze-like stone interior; the somber Catholic and Orthodox priests; and the crowds of tourists. Hardly edifying.

But this video peels back the layers of the church and explains how it inherited its puzzle-like design. After watching the first couple minutes on the present day church, I encourage you to see the church at the height of the Byzantine Period (6:30 into the video). It must have been quite a spectacle.

Then travel back further in time and witness how Rome tried to erase all memory of Jesus by building a pagan shrine to Jupiter over the empty tomb (9:00 into the video). How ironic. Jupiter has now been relegated to books on Roman mythology and the name of a planet 400 million miles away. Meanwhile, the gospel of Jesus is spreading like wildfire and changing the lives of people around the world. We serve a risen Savior. He lives!


HT: Chris McKinney

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