Looking across the Kedron Valley from the Mount of Olives toward Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock is in the foreground.
Garden of Gethsemane. These olive trees have been there since Jesus' last night in the Garden (Matt. 26:36-46). Gethsemane means olive press, and this seems very appropriate since Jesus was "pressed down" by the sins of the world on His soul.
" But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isa. 53:5-6)
Golgotha, the place of the skull (Matt. 27:32). You can see the eye and nose holes in the face of the cliff. Though the site of the crucifixion is not known for sure, this makes sense to me because the Scripture says that He suffered outside the gate (Heb. 13:11-13, and the garden believed to have belonged to Joseph of Arimathea (Matt. 27:57-60) is next to it. (See below)
Garden believed to have belonged to Joseph of Arimathea. It is maintained by a non denominal group based in England. They are dedicated to preventing a church from being built on the site. We had communion in this garden which is very tranquil even though it is right in the midst of the bustling city of Jerusalem.
Masada is the location of the remains of a Roman fortress on a mountain overlooking the Dead Sea in the Judean Desert. A group of less than 1,000 Jewish Zealots held off the Roman hoards for more than three years after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. In AD 73, the Roman governor Flavius Silva marched against Masada with the Roman Tenth Legion. When it became clear that the Jews could not hold out, they decided to commit mass suicide rather than fall into the hands of their hated enemy. All but two women, who had hidden themselves in caverns, died by their own hands. It was a very moving site for me, an awesome testimony for all time to the indominable Jewish spirit and will to remain the called out people of God.
Meet Yossi Dagan, our intrepid guide for the tour. He's taking a call from his son up here on top of Masada. He made our entire trip memorable, informative, and fun. He handled everything from surly check point guards to finding us gals a potty in the old city when there was a long line at the one we were trying to use. What a guy!
Thank you Yossi! You're the best!
Jim, Libby, John, and Erin
Many thanks to Jim Farley who organized the trip. We especially appreciated that he always pointed our minds toward the spiritual aspects of what we were experiencing and what significance it has for us in our lives today. Thanks for making our trip memorable.
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Last edited on 11/6/08.