Last Day in Jerusalem
Our morning was extremely informative as we saw both the Knesset and the Israel Museum. At the Knesset, we were given a tour of the government building. One of the outstanding moments was entering the public viewing area where the Knesset meets. I did not notice it at first but our guide pointed out that seats are arranged symbolically in the shape of a menorah. Here is a link so you can see inside: https://main.knesset.gov.il/EN/About/Pages/StreetView.aspx
A highlight at the Israel Museum was the incredible 50:1 scale model of ancient Jerusalem during the time of the Second Temple. This was Jerusalem at its peak during ancient times. Having visited many of the sites up close made this bird's eye view especially helpful as our guide pointed out many of the places we had stood. A standout for me was seeing both Gordon’s Calvary and the Holy Sepulchre locations on the model. It became very easy to picture the two possible spots outside the city walls where Christ may have been crucified (Hebrews 13:12).
The other significant place we visited that was part of the museum was The Shrine of the Book. This exhibit was built to both preserve the Dead Sea Scrolls and to tell their story in a meaningful and memorable way. Every detail of the exhibit adds to the experience. You can learn more here: https://www.imj.org.il/en/wings/shrine-book
After our last delicious lunch together on Mount Scopus with its panoramic views, we visited our last site in Jerusalem.
The Davidson Center is an archaeological park located next to the Temple Mount. We saw a Herodian street where massive stones had fallen when the temple was destroyed in 70 AD. For me, the highlight was climbing the original southern steps that led worshipers to the Temple and where Jesus taught his disciples. The steps were designed to be irregular so that those walking up would pay attention to the things of God and not mindlessly walk up to the Temple Mount. These are the steps worshippers would have sung the Psalms of Ascent. Interestingly, these irregular steps can also be found in ritual baths and synagogues.
The steps caused me to reflect on the way I approach God. Am I going through the motions or tied to a routine so much that I am not mindful of Him? The unusual steps forced me to pay attention to each placement of my foot and provided an outstanding visual of how important it is that I continuously check to make sure I am coming to God aware of who He is and in a humble state. It is healthy for me to disrupt my routines from time to time in order to know that He holds my heart and to ensure that my focus is on what He loves.
This evening we enjoyed our farewell banquet. It is funny how time works. In one way I feel like I have not been home in a long time but in another, it seems we just arrived. Having one last meal together as a group and enjoying a special program before we part ways was special. Many exchanged contact information and are thinking back on the experiences we had together.
I am thankful for the bond we feel in Christ. He is so good to us to allow Christians to feel an instant connection. What a joy to have a kinship with others and the knowledge that we all have been changed because of His sacrifice for our sins in His great plan of redemption. I am also leaving Israel thankful that God’s promises to His chosen people, the Jewish people, stand and that we were able to visit this place confident that He will return and we will be with Him when He comes to vanquish Israel’s foes.
Those of us that are heading on to Petra tomorrow said our last good-byes to our new friends from this tour of Israel and prepared for more excitement while the others headed to the airport full of warm memories.
Blog author: Steve Conover
Executive Vice President
The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry
Photos: Becca Stover