Sunday 20 March 2016

Israel Day 6 - Upper Room, Gethsemane, Caiphas' House, Holy Sepulcher, Wailing Wall

On Monday we spent the day doing a rather chronological walk through Jerusalem, based on Jesus' last days and hours.

We started by walking around part of the Jerusalem city wall to the Upper Room. 

This sculpture was in the Upper Room and I wish I could remember all the beautiful symbolism behind it - there are olive branches because Jesus is our peace, and enabled us to be right with God.

We remembered the humility of Christ and his servanthood - washing the disciples' feet, addressing their concerns, and teaching them. 

Next we went to the Garden of Gethsemane where the above two photos are from. There we remembered Jesus' time in the garden and his intimacy with the Father. Jesus wants us to go to him - to be persistent and disciplined in going to him. This place is where the battle to be obedient happened. 

Our next stop was Caphais' house - where the church of the rooster now sits. This is one of the few places where we can say "Jesus was here" and be fairly certain about it - there is a lot of evidence, including very unique archeological elements, that prove this is Caphais' house, where Jesus was taken and questioned.

Again the two questions asked in this place are - is Jesus the Messiah and is he the Son of God? And at the same time that Jesus was saying "I am", Peter was in the courtyard declaring "I am not [his disciple]". Even in the midst of our failures, Jesus is at work and it's his faithfulness that carries us.

Then we went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which is a fascinating place. Six different Christian denominations share the building today, but two Muslim families are responsible for the keys (one family can carry the key, the other can use it). 

Before we went in we went to a quiet courtyard and reflected on Jesus' death on the cross, which possibly happened in this place. 

Writing this blog post months after I am in awe of the stillness of this place - and the overwhelming sense of God's sovereignty in the death of his Son that was ... for you and for me. 

It is awe-some in the truest sense of the word. 

After such a deeply emotional time it was kind of strange to go inside the church and wander around. So many rules and rituals that Jesus came to shatter... and some of them seemed beautiful as they were done out devotion to God, but they do not save people.

I spent quite a bit of time in the place - the Romanian president was there at the same time so that caused a little more chaos and meant I didn't see everything. But the beauty of that dark, slightly-chaotic and ritual-filled church is that Jesus is not there - He is Risen! 

I spent some time that afternoon wandering around Jerusalem - the beautiful markets, and piles of dates and spices. 

Around dusk I went to the Wailing Wall (the men's section is in the first picture, the women's in the second). It was a beautiful place to experience, and felt different. But oh-so-good a reminder that I don't have to go to a special place to pray to God but that I can boldly approach His throne, with confidence! Oh, it is an incredible thing! 

No comments:

Post a Comment