There is a Jewish saying that once you come to Jerusalem you will never be the same. This is never more true that with a group of believers who love God and His Word. As we learned from one Jewish man today, coming to Israel is about you encountering God. It seems as though the people in our group encountered God in a very unique way today. We began the day by visiting the actual site of the judgment chamber of the Antonia fortress where Jesus was tried and beaten before Pilot. It was the most moving experience to sit on the cold stones that literally beheld our cruel treatment of the Lord Jesus as He took our sin judgment on Himself. Leaving that room we walked the Via Delarosa (the way of suffering) which is a good chance to stop and pause along a proposed site of Jesus walk to Calvary. The hustle and bustle of the market place atmosphere added an element of authenticity.
After lunch (pizza in Old Town Jerusalem), we stopped by the small Judaic shop of a man I am learning to love more and more with each visit. He closed the door and gave us some individual time to talk about the genuine misunderstandings and differences between Christianity and Judaism. He also had some commentary on the church today that was extremely insightful. Wow! I think we were all so amazed at what a kindred spirit we feel with godly and sincere practicing Jews. God is surely drawing us together.
The last place we went to was Caiaphas’ house. This is the High Priest that sent Jesus to be tried by the Romans. It was also the place where Peter denied the Lord three times. We had a very clear view of all the places that Jesus walked to in the last 24 hours of His life. It was a very sobering experience.
We ended the day back at our hotel with a lecture from Susan Marcus who is a friend of mine (the guide that led my last two tours). She talked to us about modern day events and Israel’s recent history. She also allowed the group to ask any question they have ever wanted to ask a Jew. It was also very informative. We had a wonderful time with her.
Tomorrow is huge! We will take the group up early for an extended visit on top of the Temple Mount. Again…life changing.