Holy Land Diaries: Day 9
It was Palm Sunday yesterday!
(This blog is also late)
And we are in Jerusalem!
Where it all started over 2000 years ago, Jesus coming into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey; weeping over the city from the Mount of Olives.
We visited the Mount of Olives twice, and both times I had to ask myself and God, “what about my city or country is moving me to tears, and how can I help to bring transformation”?
From early in the morning Jerusalem was buzzing with energy. Pilgrims have travelled from all over the world, just like in Jesus’ day, to be in Jerusalem over Passover. It is said that in Jesus’ day, roughly 500 000 Jewish pilgrim would make their way up to Jerusalem for the Passover.
Only now, there’s stages being set up for concerts, Palm branches are hanging from the city walls, with lights, and the streets are packed with shoppers and fast food eaters.
We had an early morning walk through the rabbinical tunnels, which is actually inside/underneath the Western Wall or the Wailing Wall. We were shown an original brick from the time the wall was built, that weighs 570 tons! It’s hugeeeee. Trump can only dream of building a wall of that magnitude.
Excavations to determine the full length of the wall began shortly after the Six Day War in 1967 and was only completed in 1987. It came to 150ft of concrete that has stood strong against way too many wars and conquests. We were shown a tiny synagogue called “the Cave”, that is supposedly the closest point a Jew can get to the Holy of Holies. That is assuming the Holy of Holies is situated under the Dome of the Rock, which has been a contentious issue between Muslims and Jews for many years, and is completely off-limits for any excavations whatsoever.
As Christians around the world were getting ready to reflect on Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, we heard of the ISIS attacks at the two churches in Egypt….on Palm Sunday!! Close to 60 people died, simply because they believed something different to others. Jesus did warn His (true) followers of the price they will have to pay- often with their lives- for following Him.
Is Christianity the most persecuted religion in the world? Is this fulfilling of Jesus’ words? What are we to do?
Questions. Questions. Questions.
My only hope is Jesus’ words in John 16:33 where He foretold the troubles that will follow His followers, “…But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
This Living Discipleship-making tour we are on, along with everything that is happening around the world at the moment, brings home the importance and urgency for the Mission work in the world. For believers to support those in the field, with prayer, resources, finances, sending teams, etc. I’m also encouraged to go back home and pray for ways to challenge myself and those I lead to not only talk about discipleship-making and the urgency of supporting missions, but to “come and see” for ourselves, how we can get involved!
At Bethany, we went to looked at what is believed to be the Tomb of Lazarus. Tombs in those days were like the little RDP houses of our day: small, with just enough room to take a nap. Wealthy people owned tombs that had up to 10 rooms, cut out of solid rock. The size of your fortune were determined by the size of your tomb, I guess.
We were told that a great procession of people will walk from the Mount of Olives, down to the Old City (of Jerusalem), for a couple of hours, followed by celebrations all over the city. There was an energy, like we have in SA over Christmas, or like we havr on a national march-against-the-president-day. Parties happening, streets were packed with people, everywhere music is playing. Our guide asked us to imagine this scene in Jesus’ day. That should give us an idea of why Jesus wept over the city, because in a week’s time, their celebrations will turn into angry shouts, “crucify him, crucify him”.
What kind of love knows exactly the horror that awaits Him, seeing the jubilant crowds, that would turn on Him next week, and STILL choose to go through with it all, and more!
Only the ONE who knows He’s the TRUE Messiah!
Only Jesus, the Christ!