” and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” Acts 1:8
Our first day in Israel was such a moving experience for me and I feel I can say this for all of the team. The Gospel was sent out from this very place, and we get to be a small piece of the movement to bring it back to Jerusalem! I am so thankful that we are able to stay in the Old City of Jerusalem – there is so much history of our Savior right here. In fact, the Austrian Hospice is located on Via Delorosa. This means ” the road of pain” and it is the very street that Jesus Christ carried his cross to his death.
As we walk the narrow cobblestone streets, I am trying to take in all that is around me. We walked to the Western Wall yesterday morning and saw the Temple Mount. This is the place that Jewish people come to pray and it was once known as the Wailing Wall – they also believe that no matter where they are, their prayers come first to the wall and then go up to God. There is a tradition of writing prayers on a piece of paper and sticking it in the wall.
Next, we saw the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. For a moment, I felt like I was on the set of Indiana Jones! The church was very dark and parts were underground with lots of twists and turns. Many Christians believe this is the place of Golgotha – the location of the crucifixion and resurrection. There are sections owned by the Roman Catholic Church and some by the Greek Orthodox church. Mike pointed out an old piece of a Roman column that was once part of a Roman temple and mentioned that this gives possible proof that this could be the location because the Romans tried to stamp out Christianity and would have built a temple over a place that Christians gathered to worship.
Our highlight of the day was definitely visiting the Garden Tomb. This is another possible site of the crucifixion and resurrection and honestly, the Spirit was all over this beautiful garden! Scripture tells us that Jesus was buried outside the City, and this location was the spot once known for executions. There is a huge face of a skull in the rock which some believe it the true Golgotha, or place of the skull. The garden was once a beautiful vineyard and as we walked and listened to our guide talk about Jesus, my heart was smiling. Seeing the tomb was an experience hard to describe. There was a very different feeling here than at the other site. I had a chance to go inside alone and look at the burial plot. As I stood there speechless, I noticed the sign on the door that said ” He is not here, He is risen”. Amen! I was overwhelmed with tears and for a moment even lost my breath. I don’t know if this is the spot or not, but my heart was so moved for my Savior that I like to believe it was!
Our last stop of the day was The Mount of Olives where we enjoyed fresh fruit and beautiful scenery. As sunset approached, we looked out over the city of Jerusalem and our team prayed together. One of the songs we will be singing this week is God of the City. If you come to Green Hills Church, then you will recognize this song. I can not tell you how moved I have been over the lyrics and how much hope it gives me as I look out on a beautiful city that doesn’t recognize its Lord. 3% of Israel is Christian. This is why we are here – to proclaim the good news and tell of our wonderful Jesus!
Take a moment and listen to this beautiful song. I hope it blesses you today!
Christ is All,
Some Pictures of Jerusalem