Reflections from the Holy Land

Have you been to the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas? If so, when you first saw it were you surprised by its small size? Did it seem crazy it was really the famed site where so many sacrificed their lives for the sake of freedom?

I felt much the same way when I visited Israel and saw the places of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. I was just in high school when we took that trip, but I remember being struck by how ordinary the landsape is for what was the biggest event in history. Like the Alamo, I had expected something of a much grander presence.  I mean, This is where Jesus sacrificed His life for the sake of our freedom and not even a cross marked the site!

As Scripture says in Luke 23:33 the facade of a skull is clearly seen in the rocky crevaces of Golgatha.  But it’s just a cliff, not large and it sits just on the side of a street. An intentional location so everyone traveling by could stop and gawk at the ones crucified. Otherwise, the area looks peaceful, surreal really, to think what took place there admist the flowering bushes.

Golgatha- the place of the Skull. On top is where the cross were.

Golgatha- the place of the Skull. On top is where the cross were.

And then the tomb. A small opening on the side of the mountain, a cave.  Again, not what I expected, although my expectation must have been colored by Children’s Story Bible illustrations. Since 9/11 and the media exposure of the Middle East, perhaps we now have a bit more realistic picture of the topography.

I look at this photograph today and consider the first Easter when the women who first came and saw the empty doorway. Can you imagine their utter shock? Can you hear their conversation?

You can see the door-like opening where the tomb was placed.

You can see the door-like opening where the tomb was placed.

He is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed!

Now 2000+ years later, we remember… Let it sink in not just like a memorial, but personally. Jesus, Creator King, humbled Himself to come live in this land as a sinless man. He was ridiculed and rejected. He suffered and was shamed. But He counted it as JOY for what laid before Him.

He endured it all for the sake of all God’s children.  And even in those last hours before He treked up that rocky cliff brusied and bloodied, He cried out to His Father not out of concern for Himself, but His people whom He will be leaving here on earth. Not just those in that time, but for all of us through all time who will believe.

The Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed His highly priestly prayer found in John 17.

The Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed His highly priestly prayer found in John 17.

Jesus knows we will sin, experience the consequences of sin and suffer the pain and trials of life in a fallen world. Yet, it is not without purpose that we are left to endure all that comes our way.  Therefore Jesus asks God that He would set apart and sanctify us. That we would be upheld by the truth. The truth of who Jesus is and what He did on our behalf.

To be rooted in the truth of His love and the freedom His sacrifice gives so that we might stand in awe daily at the empty tomb and know His work, in life and in death, is the righteous robes that covers us!

He is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed!

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2 thoughts on “Reflections from the Holy Land

  1. What a beautiful post of your reflections of The Holy Land! As the famous hymn goes,”I scarce can take it in”! I hope to see it with my own eyes some day!

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