Thursday 9 June 2022

Guess where I am!

I never manage to sleep on airplanes, and I thought that my flight to Israel would be no exception. Bt I did finally manage to drift off... just as we came in to land! So, as we finally exited Tel Aviv airport and got onto the coach for an hour long drive to the hotel in Jerusalem, I was feeling quite weary. But we were rewarded with seeing the sunrise over the mountains, which I guess made up for it.

And so I'm here at last! After spending the morning asleep in the hotel, we set off after lunch for our first taste of Jerusalem.

We went to the garden tomb, which is said to be the place where Jesus was buried and where the resurrection occured. As our guide pointed out, most things that we see are 'said to be' the place where one thing or another happened, but no one can be completely sure. The claim that this tomb is the one comes partly from its proximity to the skull, or Golgotha, which you can see pictured above (you can sort of see the two eyes of the skull in the rock)

The most striking thing that I noticed about the tomb was that the opening was just the size of a normal door. And its only that size because it was enlarged in the 4th century so the tomb could be used as a place of worship. Originally the opening would have been a smaller hole that you needed to stoop down to enter. If, like me, you imagined the empty tomb as having this big cave-like entrance that you could walk in upright, then this tomb puts that mis-conception straight. Of course, you're all thinking, "but we never had that misconception because we've read John 20:5 and actually noticed that it says 'He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in'"

After that we went to the Western Wall, otherwise known as the wailing wall - the last surviving part of the temple built by Herod the Great and destroyed by the Romans in AD70. Its fascinating to see this historical wall that has stood for over 2000 years still being used as a focus for religious worship. And a reminder of the blessing that we can pray to God anywhere, and do not need a temple because Jesus has opened the way for us.

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