To see photos from Day 9 of our trip you can view them here:
These were the main stops we made along the tour on our 9th day:
On our final day touring together followed closely through Jesus’ days on earth. We began on the Mount of Olives with a breathtaking view overlooking Jerusalem. Pastor Matt led us through three departures and arrivals significant to our faith. We won’t soon forget Jesus’ ascension in Acts 1, and His final return prophesied in Zechariah 14, “On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives.”
Next, we broke into teams of four as we enthusiastically sifted through dirt and rocks from 167-70 AD at the City of David Sifting Project. We felt like real archeologists as we discovered bones, pottery, mosaics and even a few coins.
After boarding the bus once again, Meir expertly drove us through traffic on very narrow streets to the Garden of Gethsemane. Pastor Steve’s teaching on Jesus’ intense loneliness as He cried out to the Father led into our own individual reflection time in that sacred area. In the quietness of the hillside we worshiped and shared communion together powerfully remembering Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
Later we traveled to The Israel Museum to see a model of the old City of Jerusalem as well as many of the original Dead Sea Scrolls on display. Amazing to see actual Scriptures written down from thousands of years ago.
A short drive to the inner city gates and we were off the bus again to continue our journey up the road to see The Lithostros built by Hadrian. We read that Pilot was a man of many questions wrestling with the position of power had over Jesus. We saw the stones and area he would have sat as he heard their accusations against Jesus from his judgment seat. We paused to reflect on the incomprehensible torture Jesus suffered prior to death and the magnitude of what he was about to endure.
From here we continued our climb through the uneven stone streets on our journey towards Golgotha. Surrounded by merchants, foreign languages, Jews in special robes and Christians, we finally arrived at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We were given time to explore and touch the rock where Jesus’s cross was placed. The archeology, art, architecture, and songs of monks and priests chanting were a bit overwhelming. Each commemorated spot had ornate shrines and people from six catholic and orthodox denominations who all crowded around to see and honor Jesus.
Finally, we navigated the cobblestone streets to our restaurant. Over tasty hummus, salads and kabobs we expressed gratitude to God for sweet formative moments with Him, new friendships with one another, pastor Matt’s skillful leadership, Ronen’s knowledge and of course our bus driver Meir’s talented driving.