Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Day 14 Tuesday: Sadness, Joy and Next Year

Today was different in many ways.  First, everyone had the morning free to pack, shop, or meander and take in more of the Holy City before we depart tomorrow.  A number of us roamed back into the Old City to get final gifts.  We met Nir and David at 1:00 p.m. and headed toward the Garden Tomb.  I asked Nir and David to take us up by the Spanish Embassy first so we could see the area where our friend Steven is moving his church.  Please be praying for this transition.

Our major stop for the day was the Garden Tomb.  Bertil Vik was our local guide.  Even his Swedish emotions came out (his words) as he told of the possibility of this being the location where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.  The Place of the Skull (Golgatha) was below us behind the Arab bus station.  Whereas the hill in years past had a clearly distinguishable look of the face of a skill, a heavy snow storm two years ago caused the eye sockets to collapse, so they are no longer visible.  In any case, we moved to the Garden area, containing a very large cistern and of course, an empty tomb.  The tomb, complete with weeping area and one cut out grave perfectly fits the description in the Scriptures.  Was it the borrowed tomb of Joseph of Arimethea? Who knows.  It does not matter.  It is empty, and for that we are eternally grateful.  As it says in Romans, "and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power[b] by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord."

We went to a small chapel area, reviewed our time together, gave testimonies about our journey, had Dan lead us in worship, then Mike led us in taking communion together.  Each of us got to keep the olive wood cup we drank from for communion. It was a special time.

Nir asked for some time together, so he took us to a park across the street from the King Solomon hotel.  He showed us Herod's family tomb located right there in the middle of town.  He then shared his thanks with us for coming, and gave each of us a gift, a book his wife helped him put together.  It is focused on light, and contains many of the Scriptures which refer to light as well as many pictures from across the country.

It is a common practice at the end of Pesach to say, "Next Year in Jerusalem."  This is our mantra as well.

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