We began the day traveling from the Palestinian city of Bethlehem to the Israeli city of Jerusalem. To move between the Palestinian and Israeli sections you needed to pass through the walls.
Our first stop in Jerusalem was at the Church of the Ascension.
The church is a German Lutheran church built prior to WW2. It is hard to walk through the church in Jerusalem and not grasp the wickedness done to Jewish people by the Germans in the name of Christianity. Even though the church was built prior to Hitler, my heart hurt as I could not get beyond the floor tiled with connecting swastikas.
We went to the top of the church’s tower which offered a beautiful view of the city.
After the visiting the place where Jesus ascended to heaven, we then went to the Mount of Olives.
The Mount of Olives is a Jewish cemetery as they believe that that is the place to wait for God’s judgment. The graves have rocks on top as a symbol for the future building of the temple.
On the Mount of Olives sits the the place where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. This is the place where Jesus said that the temple would be destroyed.
I was hit while looking out the window of the lostness of Jerusalem, and that its hope is the same as 2000 years ago: turning to Christ.
Outside the chapel a long vine reminded me of the crown of thorns.
Heading down the hill we walked into the Garden of Gethsemane. The largest tree was in the garden when Jesus sweat drops of blood and prayed for the cup to pass from him.
The chapel of the garden was a moving place where your heart was stirred to mourn the agony of Jesus.
Next we went into the old city of Jerusalem, entering through the dung gate.
Once in, we went to the Western Wall.
Conservative Jews ritually wash before going to the wall.
The wall was separated with men on one side and women on the other. These men were praying for the restoration of Jerusalem to the Jews. I went to the wall to pray for all in Jerusalem to see the true God and trust Jesus.
The men’s section also has a section to pray inside the wall of Jerusalem.
We left the wall and then traveled to the Via Dolorosa: the walk of Jesus to the Cross.
The beginning of the road began with Pilate’s trial, flogging, forgiveness of Barabbas, conviction, and giving of the cross.
One specific highlight was an original floor piece which was marked by the Romans when they cast lots.
Leaving from there, we continued through the stations of the cross. We were able to see an original road on the Via Dolorosa outside where these soldiers stayed.
We ended the evening seeing the place where Jesus’ body was laid and the outside of the empty tomb. Because of time constraints, we concluded there with the promise of going back.
While leaving Jerusalem we passed by the fortress of Herod the Great.
Up next, more of Jerusalem…