SwindollStudyBible-John - Page 51

J ohn  1 9 : 2 2
Seeing Our Need
for a Savior
Hebron Dead
The main entrance of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built at the
traditional location of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection
SINCE AS EARLY AS THE FIRST CENTURY, Christians have venerated the site
where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre stands as the place where Jesus Christ
died and rose again. The Aramaic name of the place, Golgotha (Calvariae in Latin),
has echoes of death in its meaning: “Place of the Skull” (John 19:17). Though
Christianity’s opponents, from Rome’s Emperor Hadrian to Egypt’s Caliph a
­ l-­Hakim,
have tried to destroy its memory, they have unwittingly helped preserve the significance of the site.
During the fourth century, Constantine built a church on the site to memorialize
the place of Christ’s resurrection. The church has been built, rebuilt, and expanded.
(Much of what we see today stems from the Crusader period.) Different religions,
ethnic groups, and sects have obscured the entire original site. Many Christians
today are so put off by the religiosity and traditionalism of the goings-on in the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre that they reject its a
­ uthenticity—­in spite of the overwhelming historical evidence to the contrary. The church feels quite foreign to those
accustomed to Western worship. Gold icons, chanting priests, and strong incense
fill the spaces between the building’s dark, cold, stone walls. Six different Christian
sects quarrel over the ­goings-­on within. Territorial fistfights have even erupted
on occasion.
If we’re not careful, our character can appear much like the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre. A watching world may only see our hypocrisy and therefore miss out on
our Savior. Our lives should be doors for others to come to God, not barriers of religiosity they must get around in order to see the gospel. How ironic that the Church
of the Holy Sepulchre demonstrates the very need for the event it ­reveres—­Christ’s
death on the cross. We need a Savior, and our sin reveals it.

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