Past, Present, and Future
Good morning from Jerusalem! We had the privilege of starting the day on the Mount of Olives. This is the view that we are very familiar with seeing in photos. It is breathtaking to gaze out over the city of Jerusalem.
Richard Schmidt, a Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry’s representative in the midwest reminded us of what occurred here in the New Testament. It was here that Jesus delivered what is known as the Olivet Discourse. It was also here that Jesus ascended up to heaven. Finally, when Jesus returns it will be here on this spot. This is an amazing place. When standing here you are seeing the past, present, and looking forward to the future.
We walked down the hill from the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane. This is possibly the location where Jesus poured out his heart in prayer, after the Last Supper, as the day of his death on the cross approached. In the morning Jesus was arrested here. We are so unworthy of His great sacrifice.
As we entered the Church of All Nations, a Roman Catholic church, it was a quiet, dimly lit sanctuary with beautiful ornamentation. The church was built to be a shrine for a section of bedrock that is said to be where Jesus prayed.
We were able to go across the street to a more private garden. We heard a lot of noise around us but within the gate of the garden we were closed off from the commotion of the outside. We were given time to have a private time of prayer to open our hearts to God.
Finally, we heard a short lesson on the olive tree. The tree can be cut and seemingly destroyed but will still grow back. The Jewish people can be compared to that tree, which is why pieces of Olive wood are so significant to many people. https://www.bibleplaces.com/mtolives/
We had some time to visit the Western Wall. Again, this is something that we recognize from photos. Seeing it in person gives it all new meaning. The Jewish people come here to pray because it is the closest spot to the Holy of Holies. Anyone in our group who wanted to go to the wall to pray were given time to do so. https://www.bibleplaces.com/westernwall/
The Jerusalem Archeological Park—the Davidson Center provided access to the ruins and excavations near the Western Wall. We learned about more history of Jerusalem, especially about the time during Jesus’s life. An informative video told us about pilgrimages to the temple throughout history.
We walked the Via Dolorosa, “the way of the cross” on the way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Several times today as we made our way through the Muslim Quarter and the Christian Quarter, it felt like it was very crowded with a lot of commotion and yelling over other sounds. It was intimidating for those who have never experienced it. I can’t imagine the feelings that Jesus experienced as He carried the cross through the streets. How extremely painful, physically as well as emotionally, that must have been! I am so thankful for Jesus and His love for us.
When we left the Muslim Quarter and entered the Christian Quarter, the architecture and general feel of the area changed. As we walked through the gate and rounded the corner, the sun was shining, the street was brighter, and the whole mood seemed to change. A person in our group described the feeling in the first quarter as being oppressive and dark. That is a great description. https://www.bibleplaces.com/holysepulcher/
After a lunch of pizza and lemonade with mint, we walked to Saint Anne’s Church. Traditionally this is said to have possibly been the birthplace of Mary, mother of Jesus.
A special aspect of the church is the amazing acoustics. We sang How Great Thou Art and two additional songs. The beautiful sound of voices lifting praise to God in such a place cannot be described with words.
We viewed the ruins of the Pool of Bethesda. This is where Jesus healed the lame man (John 5). We also learned about the function and engineering of the pool during Jesus’s day. It is really interesting to learn the biblical and the archeological aspects of the sites.
After dinner we were treated to birthday cake for the birthdays that occurred during the trip. What a nice surprise! Then Meno Kalisher shared with us about his ministry as pastor of the Jerusalem Assembly. Meno is the son of the late Zvi Kalisher that many know from the last page of Israel My Glory magazine. God is doing great things through Meno!
Blog author: Debbie Helbig
Administrative Assistant for Ministry Advancement
The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry
Photos: Brett Helbig