Our Sacrificial Lamb
Our first stop on this beautiful morning was Gordon’s Calvary and the Garden Tomb. Dr. Jim Showers gathered our group from both buses and lead us in communion and a short devotional. The significance of communion and its ties to the Passover meal give tremendous insight into what Jesus was communicating the night He instituted The Lord’s Supper. Just like in Passover, God judged but also provided an escape through the blood of an innocent lamb. So is the same with Jesus, as the perfect and spotless Lamb of God exchange our sin and guilt for His righteousness. During our communion service, we sang several Christian songs. What a joy to hear other groups from all over the world singing praises to God for the gift of His Son in this special place.
Garden Tomb: https://gardentomb.com/
After a group photo at the Mt of Olives, Dr. Mike Stallard, International Ministries Director with The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministries, taught us about the Olivet Discourse found in Matthew 24. He connected the passage to both Revelation 6 and Joel 3 and pointed out that the sheep and the goats that are divided at the time of judgment is based on how we treat Israel. We were challenged to consider our readiness and to be mindful that it is our faith in Jesus that saves us, not our good works.
Mount of Olives: https://www.bibleplaces.com/mtolives/
In the Garden of Gethsemane, you can see where Mt. Moriah stands. This is where the sacrifice of Isaac by his father Abraham took place. Such a thought to consider that not far from where God provided the sacrifice for Abraham, Jesus prayed with the disciples in the garden below. Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice for sin. He prayed that night that if it were possible, the cup of suffering could pass from Him but if not, He would obey His Father. It was sobering to pray in the garden where Jesus prayerfully prepared Himself to give His life for me.
Our guide pointed out ancient olive trees in the garden. We learned that “Gethsemane” means “olive press.” This is fascinating since it stands at the bottom of the Mount of Olives. When the olive press was not in use, this would make an ideal place to pray. Interestingly, the olive tree is resilient and even the cutting of its branches or burning them may not kill them. This is beautifully symbolic of how the Lord protects His chosen people as they continue to thrive in this land.
We walked along the Via Dolorosa while our guide pointed out many of the significant sites along the way. At the beautiful Saint Anne's church, we sang songs together as a group. It is easy to hear why so many pilgrims come to this church to sing at this unique location. Before continuing on to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, we observed the pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the paralytic (John 5).
Church of the Holy Sepulchre: https://www.bibleplaces.com/holysepulcher/
After dinner, some of us went to Ben Yehuda street to take in the buzz of the busy shops and restaurants as the city came back to life with sights and sounds after the sun went down and the Sabbath ended.
Blog author: Steve Conover
Executive Vice President
The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry
Photos: Becca Stover