Holy Places

There’s something awe-inspiring about holy places.

Moses was told to take off his shoes; he was standing on holy ground. The Jerusalem temple was holy; only by passing the altar of sacrifice could one approach. And then, inside the temple, beyond its outer room, was the holiest place of all—the holy of holies. There only the high priest might go, and then only once a year, bearing the blood of a sacrifice offered for his own sin and for the sin of the people. No one rushes boldly, thoughtlessly, into any truly holy place.

It is with just this same sense of awe that we must open the Old Testament to Isaiah 52:13-53:12. This is holy ground: the Great Architect’s blueprint of history’s ultimate holy of holies. Here we see with total clarity the plan and the purpose of God in Christ’s sufferings—and here we sense the anguish Jesus knew.

Read the verses. See the Servant of God, so battered and disfigured He hardly seems human anymore. Live with Him as He is despised and rejected by men. Watch Him take up our iniquities and be pierced for our transgressions. See the blood flow as His life is crushed from Him, as from a sin offering. And realize that He chose this fate, that by His wounds we might be healed.

Why did Jesus die? The answer is here, in the Old Testament’s holy of holies. He died to pay for our iniquities, that we might be saved.

Reading these ancient words we can only bow our heads and worship. They bring us into the very presence of our God. They themselves have become holy ground.

“The whole life of Christ was a continual passion; others die martyrs but Christ was born a martyr. He found a Golgotha even in Bethlehem, where He was born; for to His tenderness then the straws were almost as sharp as the thorns after, and the manger as uneasy at first as His cross at the last. His birth and His death were but one continual act, and His Christmas Day and His Good Friday are but the evening and morning of one and the same day.” John Donne


Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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