It's our last day here in Israel and I have to admit I am going to be sad to leave this place (although I'm anxious to be home with my family). It is such a treat and privilege to be here and experience and see all these wonderful things that I don't want the exploration of the biblical context to stop. However it must, so here is what we did this morning. It's a big deal!
First up we stopped at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which I cannot pronounce correctly no matter how hard I try. This church was built over the actual Golgotha hill where Christ was crucified, taken from the cross, prepared for burial and put in a tomb. Below is the place where he was supposedly prepared for burial, obviously it's inside a church, a very large, beautiful and ornate church that is shared by like 6 different Christian denominations. Some people think this stone has healing powers.
This is a huge mural that is stationed just above the preparation stone.
Inside this box/room is the actual tomb that Jesus was buried in and rose from the dead. Unfortunately man is evil and the entire hill that this even took place on was destroyed in the 2nd century to try and erase any memory of Christianity. Contstantine's mom came back in the late 3rd century and restored these locations, but they were already destroyed beyond recognition. This location has changed hands many times and there have been numerous battles fought on this very spot. However.......you can touch the bedrock of the tomb through a tiny opening under this giant box.
Next we went out to the South Gate of the Temple Mount. These are the steps that most people used to enter the Temple Mount and this where the various rabbi's would sit and teach their disciples. Jesus absolutely sat where we are sitting and spoke to the people and taught the disciples. It was hard to leave this location because we just wanted to breathe in the atmosphere and the magnitude of where we were sitting. So unbelievably cool! Later Peter spoke on the day of Pentecost on these steps early in the book of Acts. One more thing, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus up these steps to be presented at the Temple as a baby.
This is a 1st century road along the southwest corner of the Temple Mound. It was excavated about 30 years ago. This was main street in Jerusalem in Jesus day. He walked and talked on these stones many times. He healed blind Bartameus here. After he spit on the ground and made mud and put it on Bartameus' eyes and headed him. He then told him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam which is at the end of this road. Bam! Where those piles of rubble are would have been various little shops. Those rubble piles are stones from the Temple Mound (that big huge wall on the right) that fell to the ground when the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 AD.
That's it for now. When I get back to the States tomorrow I will do another update and post some stuff I left out, like the hill where Jesus fed the 5,000.