Being in the old city of Jerusalem has been such a blessing to our team. As we prepare for our time in Tel Aviv, I have tried to write down all the incredible things we saw in Jerusalem. It’s pretty amazing to walk the streets because the Bible starts to come alive. Mike and our guide Aaron will say things like, ” that is where Simon of Cyrene took the cross from Jesus and carried it for him” or ” that is the place that Abraham offered up his son Isaac as a sacrifice.” I know that I will always read my Bible a little differently now!
Small things have really stood out to me as we have passed in and out of the gates to the old city. We exited the Lion’s Gate yesterday heading toward the Mount of Olives and Aaron pointed out that this particular site is where Stephen was stoned for his faith. ” At this they covered their ears and , yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.” Acts 7: 57-58. Before I could move on with the group, I just stopped and stared at the gate. The Bible goes on to say that after this occurred, the early church was heavily persecuted and as a result scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Christianity then began to spread across the world and as a result, you and I have heard the Gospel!!
We later hiked up the Mount of Olives and facing us was the Eastern Gate. As you stand on the Mount of Olives, you look across the Kidron Valley to the Eastern wall of the city. The Eastern Gate is significant for Christians, because we believe that Christ will return on the Mount of Olives and walk through the Eastern Gate. What a great day that will be! Mike will often say that if death separates us, he will see me at the Eastern Gate – that will be our meeting place.
After we finished our hike up the Mount of Olives, which is the steepest hill I can imagine, we came to the Garden of Gethsemane. This was a very peaceful place and the spot where Jesus prayed and wept for Jerusalem. The view as you look across at the city toward the Temple Mount is absolutely beautiful. Our team sat in this spot for several minutes just gazing across the valley praying for the same city that our Lord wept over so long ago.
Another interesting site nearby, was the massive grave yard that spreads across the Mount of Olives and Kidron Valley. This is a prime burial spot because Jewish people believe that at the resurrection, those on the Mount of Olives will go up to heaven first. The grave lots go for about 1 million dollars – wow!
I will always remember our days in Jerusalem and long for the day when there will be a new Jerusalem! Until then, we will sing of our sweet Savior and tell about the peace he brings. We will praise his name in the streets and tell of his saving grace!
The Apostle John in the book of Revelation says, ” I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying ‘ Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. they will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’. ” Revelation 21: 2-4
Please continue to pray for our team as we begin to share the Gospel in Tel Aviv. Pray that the Holy Spirit would show us the divine appointments that he has made for us and that we could be bold in our faith. Pray for energy and hydration because it is HOT!
Much love – Tabitha