Our whole tour had been leading up to this, our final day. It began with a visit to the Dome of the Rock. At the center of Jerusalem, it’s a golden domed mosque built on top of Mt Moriah. Same mountain where Abraham willingly set out to sacrifice his son, and where Solomon built the temple.
Next stop was the Mount of Olives, walking down a steep heel and retracing Jesus’ final journey into Jerusalem after the last supper. We stopped at the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus went with his disciples and saw a rock where he may have spent time in agonizing prayer.
Then we walked to the hall where Pontius Pilate probably tried him. A courtyard there had gambling games inscribed in the paving stones by Roman soldiers, and may have been the place where soldiers gambled for Jesus’ clothing.
Finally, we crossed over to the Garden Tomb, next to the likely site of Golgotha, the hill where Jesus was crucified. In the nearby field that most likely belonged to a rich family (suspected to be Joseph of Arimathea), we finally came to a well preserved tomb that is thought by many to be likely the tomb Jesus’ body lay.
And of course, it was empty! Very cool that there is no tomb that claims to hold his body, and that his resurrection changes everything.
This is of course a condensed summary of our itinerary. Can’t even explain the emotions that accompanied our time. The scripture that most rang in my heart throughout much of our time was Gal.6:9 ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the son of God who loves me and who gave himself for me’.