The last day of our trip began on the Temple Mount. Currently the Dome of the Rock sits on top of where the ancient temple sat. The temple also was the same location where Abraham was called to sacrifice Isaac and where God provided a ram instead.
Notice how you can see clearly the Palm Sunday road and the Mount of Olives where Jesus wept over Jerusalem, in direct sight of the temple.
As we stood on the Temple Mount, it was possible we stood above where the Holy of Holies resided, a place we entered boldly through the blood of Christ.
Afterwards, we walked to the Pools of Bethesda. Bethesda is where an angel stirred the waters and men came to be healed. It was a place where people washed their animals for sacrifice. Most importantly, it was here that Jesus healed a lame man who could not get to the pools.
And at this place, there is still water.
Leaving the walled city by the Lions’ Gate, we saw the place where Stephen was stoned. It is here that Jesus stood in Heaven in honor of Stephen’s boldness.
Our next stop was Caiaphas’ house. There is a beautiful church which sits on the top telling the story of Jesus’ trial.
Underneath the church sits the room in which Jesus was whipped 39 times. Within the room were two bowls which contained saltwater to activate the wounds, and vinegar to sterilize. Here the arms would be tied above and the legs underneath.
We also saw the cell Jesus was held in. He would have been lowered by rope into a pit.
Leaving there, we went to the courtyard where Peter denied Jesus.
We left and had lunch in the walled city, and then we went on to see Golgotha and the tomb of Jesus. We first saw the tomb.
As we entered, Greek Orthodox priests were performing a ceremony.
The tomb itself is inside the church. This is different than the garden tomb, which is authentic and looks like what a biblical era tomb would have looked like, but it is not the site of Jesus’ tomb. We saw what is believed to be Jesus’ tomb. Pictures were allowed outside but not inside as a priest chided people that it was a place of worship.
Jenn and I laid hands where Jesus was laid, prayed, and felt the gravity of the location.
Next we went to the place of the cross. This site was under Catholic care.
We started by climbing a set of stairs worn down by the number of visitors. Each step is warped by the number of visitors who have walked here over the centuries.
Getting to the place where the cross stood, you had to go underneath a table. You needed to bow in worship to approach the place where Jesus died.
On the sides of the table were the undisturbed rocks of Golgotha.
Underneath the table is a gold disc with a hole at the center. You are able to place your hand into the hole and touch the rock on which the cross was placed. I was shaken by the experience of touching the place my Savior died.
Our final stop in the walled city of Jerusalem was touring the fortress of Herod the Great. We went to the roof to see sweeping views of the city.
We saw the Dome of the Rock where the temple once sat.
We also saw the Church (blue top) where Golgotha is.
While we were up there, a storm blew into Jerusalem with strong cold winds.
We went through the museum, and when we stepped out of Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate, it began to snow.
With a strong wind and cold snow making things chilly, we stepped into a local coffee shop for coffee and hot chocolate.
Jenn’s hot chocolate was hot steamed milk poured over chocolate shavings. It was so good I drank my coffee and ordered Jenn and myself two more cups of hot chocolate.
Up next, travel back to the US…