Sorry for the delay in getting this blog out. I got extremely sick last night. I don’t know if was the food or water or something…but I got painfully sick.
So here is the adventures of Saturday.
We started the day with a great breakfast with one another and then we loaded up the bus for a full day of checking out some sights where Jesus spent most of his time while in Jerusalem. Our first stop was the Mount Olives. It’s the same hillside as the Garden of Gethsemane, but the mount of olives is a location where Jesus would spent time praying. The top of the Mount of Olives gives a great view over the entire city of Jerusalem and no doubt Jesus would have prayed for His favorite city and the people in it frequently. The picture shows how you can see nearly everything.
This is the spot where the Bible references that “Jesus Wept” as He thought about how the whole city was going to be destroyed in 70 AD. This is also the location where Jesus traveled through when He went out to Bethany to visit Mary and Martha and later raise Lazarus from the dead. The Gold Dome in the background is where the Temple was in Jesus’ time.
In fact, right after our visit to the Mount of Olives we loaded up and shot off to Bethany and got to go down inside Lazarus’ Tomb. History and Tradition show this as the actual sight. Imagine the entrance and then about 20 steps down curving to the bottom of the tomb where Lazarus would have been laid. He had been dead for 4 days. Jewish tradition says the Spirit lingers for with the dead body for 3 days. So for Jesus to purposefully wait for 4 days demonstrates that Jesus really wanted to make a point about how He is “the resurrection and the life.” You can read the story in John 11.
As we were getting back on the bus in Bethany after visiting Lazarus’ tomb, we saw an opportunity for some $5 camel rides!
When we came out of the tomb there is a cool gift shop just outside and a guy sells the Sling of David. I some slings and will have them in my office is you would like to see what David’s sling was like. I think you’ll be surprised by how “whimpy” it seems, but the man selling the slings demonstrated for us by putting a rock in it and letting it fly. It was pretty impressive. The rock left the sling with such power I’m guessing it flew 80 to 100 feet and most definitely had the power to penetrate the head of Goliath.
What was cool about leaving Lazarus’ tomb and then getting the sling is the fact that we then headed off to the Valley of Elah. This is the location where the Philistines marched against the Israelites and the giant named Goliath shouted out a challenge and David took it! You know the story. So we walked out onto the Valley of Elah and then down to the dry river bed where everybody picked up a smooth stone just like David would have picked up from that spot. Pretty cool location. You can see in the picture that its out in the middle of nowhere, but you can see the ridge where its possible Goliath stood and offered up the challenge!
After the Valley of Elah we stopped in a place to have lunch and then headed back into Jerusalem area where we visited the Israel History Museum. We were able to trek through Israel’s history and also view the most important archeological discovery in the last couple of hundred years…The Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls proved for all of us the accuracy of Scripture because they found a Scroll that has the entire book of Isaiah written on it and it perfectly matches what our Bibles have in them today. Proof that God has preserved his Scriptures and that the original language translations of the Bible today are perfect and uncorrupted. At this museum was 50:1 model of the city of Jerusalem in Jesus’ time. The picture shows the Temple.
After the museum we had a 3:30 arrival time and appointment for a communion service in the Garden Tomb area. This place is surreal. You can see Golgotha. You can actually walk into the empty tomb and see where Jesus’ body would have been laid. There are two traditional sights around the City of Jerusalem where they debate which one is the actual empty tomb. We’ll never know for sure, but the sight we visited is in a garden and you can see Skull Hill and the tomb we got to walk into is a rich man’s tomb and wasn’t finished…just like the Bible says it was. See Pictures. Arriving in the Garden we encountered hundreds of people from all over the world singing songs about the crucifixion or the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There people of different color, different language and the only unity factor was Jesus! See the pictures of the skull hill…do you see the skull? Also pictures of the garden tomb area with all the people.
By the time we were finished in the Garden Tomb area we actually had a 3 block walk back to the hotel. Had a great dinner and called it a night. What a full day.