An excellent day today! Meds are working great and by about 11am I was pretty well pain-free! I should be okay until I get home! God is sooo good!
We begin today on the Mount of Olives, where you can see the beautiful panorama of Jerusalem. We walked down the Old Palm Sunday Road to the Garden of Gethsemane. It is a beautiful, peaceful place filled with olive trees. You can see why Jesus spent so much time here with his disciples. We had time to spread throughout the Garden, find a place to sit and read scripture, pray and just picture the events that happened here. It was one of the most beautiful places to be and emotional to visualize Jesus being betrayed here. We also learned an important perspective about how much more it meant when Jesus healed the man whose ear Peter cut off when Jesus was being arrested. Peter wasn’t likely trying to cut his ear off, he was probably aiming for his throat, but being a fisherman, he was not skilled with using a sword. The last miracle Jesus performed was touching the mans ear and healing him. He healed the enemy! The thing most of us don’t know though is that slaves from that time had their ear marked by some sort of wound that would permanently deform their ear so they could not hide the fact they were a slave. When Jesus healed this man, he not only reattached his ear, but he healed it. Jesus also gave this man his freedom since he was no longer marked a slave! Wow!
We followed the path Jesus would have walked all the time going from the Garden of Gethsemane, through the Kidron Valley toward the temple mount. I am convinced that everyone who lived in Jesus’ time was very fit. Some places are far, some are near, but all have steep hills throughout!
Next was the Palace of Caiaphas. This was an emotional place too. Jesus was questioned by Caiaphas after he was arrested. This is where Peter denied Jesus three times, Jesus was whipped and beat and thrown into a prison pit overnight before going before Pilot. We got to go into that actual pit. We read Psalms 88 while there and cried imagining what Jesus was going thorough and feeling. Thinking about the fact he was going through all this pain, abandonment, cruelty, and torture for my salvation – for me, for you, for all believers – was overwhelming.
The Western Wall Tunnels was our next stop. This is a tour of the tunnels that run along the Western Wall at the level of the street in Jesus’ day. Pictures are the best way to show this. I will post my pictures soon and try to get them labeled soon as well. Then we went to the holiest site in the Jewish world, the Western (Wailing) Wall of Herod’s temple mount. This is a remnant of the supporting wall of the Second Temple and was very interesting. We got to see a couple bat mitzvah’s which was fun. There is a women’s side and a men’s side of the wall. Many people write prayers on paper and stick them in the wall. This is the Jewish people’s most holy place because it is the closest they can get to the destroyed Temple Holy of Holies that once stood behind it on the Temple Mount. Jew’s don’t believe in the New Testament, but as Christians when Jesus died and the temple curtain was torn in two we can have a direct relationship with God now. So no, I didn’t put a prayer in the Western Wall – God will hear my prayer no mater where I pray!!
Beyond the wall lies the 35-acre temple area bought by King David (2 Sam. 24). On this site today is the Dome of the Rock (the third holiest Islam shrine) and the El-Aqsa Mosque. We will visit more of the temple mount area tomorrow, specifically the Southern steps where Jesus taught often. I am so excited to go there!
We continued on and visited the Israel Museum where the model of Jerusalem is, a 1:50 scale model of the city in Jesus’ time and spent a short amount of time in the archeological artifacts part of the museum. Pictures will show you some of the things we saw. In the same area is the Shrine of the Book Museum where the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed. This was fascinating. We couldn’t take pictures here.
Excited for tomorrow!