We saved some of the most exciting sights in Israel for the last days. What a great joy today to tour both the traditional site for Golgotha and the empty tomb at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as well as the Garden Tomb site.
We started our morning by touring the Western Wall tunnels, which were very interesting. These tunnels start at the popular prayer site on the Western Wall. They continue all the way north to the old Antonio’s fortress on the northwest corner of the Temple Mound.
We then began the walk down the 14 stops along the Via Dolorosa through the streets of the Old City. The final five stops are in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which includes the Catholic locations of the cross and place of the resurrection.
We continued touring at the Shrine of the Book. It is here the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed along with the Model City, a replica of Jerusalem in the time of Christ at a 1:50 scale. The architect used original materials as much as possible, and the model measures over 2,000 square meters. It is impressive to say the least. The Dead Sea scrolls provided time to read, practice my Hebrew a bit, and reflect on the work at Qumran. It is part of the Israel Museum and worth the time to see it.
We made a quick stop by the Israeli Parliament.
We finished our day at Golgotha and the Garden Tomb. This was a special treat. I was so humbled to speak at the service at the Garden Tomb. The music was so excellent. Our group sang so many wonderful songs as a great choir. No doubt this is one of the highlights of my life in ministry.
For Your Consideration
It is overwhelming to consider the fact that where we walked today, Jesus also walked and chose to give His life to create a new body, the Church, by paying our ransom for sin through the shedding of His blood. Jesus, according to the riches of His grace, chose to be obedient, even to the death on the cross. As we stood and looked at Golgotha’s hill where Jesus died, I was impressed with the magnitude of His grace. What incredible sacrifice. Jesus died to take my place, your place, and be the substitutionary atonement for all mankind (1 John 2:2). What took place on Golgotha reflects the deep, deep love of Jesus. It speaks into human history about the length God went to make a way for us to have a relationship with Him through Jesus.
The other incredible site was the empty Garden Tomb. Our Savior lives. He’s alive! It was empty. There’s nothing to see. Two thousand years later, it is still empty. That’s great news! We trust and follow a living Savior. His resurrection demonstrates the acceptance of His death on the cross by God as the payment for the sins of mankind. It was through the power of the Holy Spirit – the same power that resides in each follower of Jesus – that He was resurrected.
Oh friends, this is such great news. Forgiveness is offered through Jesus for our sins because of the death, burial, and resurrection. If you are a follower of Christ, you know how sweet this is. If you are not, then I encourage you to consider your sins in light of the gift offered through Jesus for you.
Today’s Thought: Are you living today with the gratitude the cross and resurrection demand? Is the love of Christ controlling you?
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