Walking Where Jesus Walked
We got an early start to our morning beginning with the Davidson Center. Here at the southern wall of the Temple Mount we were shown computerized images of Jerusalem and the Temple from the 1st century. It’s great to have a visual of what it looked like when Jesus was here. We also had the opportunity to sit on the southern steps as our guide shared with us about Jewish life around the temple. Any new city can be challenging to learn your way around and I think Jerusalem as even more challenging. The city is built on hills and has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over. This makes it difficult figuring the city out. But I will say after a full day of walking through Jerusalem, I’m a bit closer to making my way around. I should have it mastered after 10-15 more trips to Israel.
Next we visited the Temple Institute and it was impressive. There were two rules in the institute: no eating and no pictures. Thirty seconds after walking into the first room I reached for my camera but remembered before touching it—no pictures. We walked through four rooms where presentations were made depicting what life was like for the Jewish people beginning with creation and then with an emphasis on Jewish worship which is based upon the temple. Here the ceremonial utensils that have been made in preparation for the third temple and on display. These items include trumpets, the priestly garments, wash basins, golden incense altar, and the table of showbread. They even have the altar for sacrifices. This altar is modular, meaning when the day arrives and the temple is rebuilt, it will be moved into the temple. All of the items are what they call kosher and have been made to be used in the temple, this is a place of preparation, not a museum—hence the name, the Temple Institute. The one picture we were able to take is of the menorah as it is on display outside. Every generation desires to be the generation to rebuild the temple.
The Jewish quarter was, without a doubt, the best quarter. There was lots of activity with children running through the streets after school. Today is Friday and Shabbat begins at sundown and people were busy making preparations for Shabbat dinner. We had a great view of the western wall and saw the remains of the northern wall from the time of king Hezekiah. At the center of the Jewish quarter is a synagogue which was rebuilt in the last few years.
We then walked to the Muslim quarter and had lunch. Our choices were the regular options of falafel and shawarma but today was a treat as pizza was on the menu. I think it’s safe to say the overwhelming majority of us chose pizza today. As lunch ended, the narrow streets were very congested with the letting out of the mosque following their afternoon prayers. I felt very safe because the Israeli police are stationed throughout the streets.
We made our way to the Christian quarter on the Via Dolorosa to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I learned a lot of history about this place which was very helpful. The first church built on this site was in the 4th century by Constantine’s mother, Helen. She believed this was the site of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. Today this church is managed by six denominations, Roman Catholic and the other five are Eastern Orthodox. They each have a section in the church and as an evangelical believer it is very different than anything I’m familiar or even comfortable with, the incense, the chanting, the relics, and especially how they disregarded the Jewishness of the Scriptures and took the position that God has replaced His promises to the Jewish people and given the church those promises. It is possible that this was the site of the death, burial & resurrection but there is another place that is also a possibility and that was our next stop.
Gordon’s Calvary and the Garden Tomb was our last stop of the day and it was the perfect way to end our day of touring. We were reminded of the life Jesus lived as the perfect Son of Man and then offered up His life on our behalf. We visited what is a possible site of his death, burial, and resurrection. We cannot say for sure which site is correct but we can say for sure that Jesus died for us was buried and rose again. We took communion together there and sang hymns of praise and worship. There were other groups there and we could hear familiar hymns in languages I did not know. It was beautiful and maybe someday, I’ll have more time to enjoy hearing praises to our God in other languages. But I’ll have to come back 10-15 more times to tell you if I’ve had enough.
Tonight we are hearing Pastor Meno Kalisher speak from Jerusalem Assembly. He is the son of The Friends of Israel worker, the late Zvi Kalisher. Zvi’s stories Apples of Gold can still be read in the back of our magazine Israel My Glory. Meno is a passionate person and I’m excited to hear what God is doing in his congregation here in Israel.
Links where we visited today:
Davidson Center: http://www.rova-yehudi.org.il/?lang=en
The Temple Institute: https://www.templeinstitute.org/
Church of the Holy Sepulchre: https://www.bibleplaces.com/holysepulcher/
Gordon’s Calvary and the Garden Tomb: https://www.bibleplaces.com/gardentomb/