Walking where Jesus walked - my trip to Israel
Some of you may not know that for the 2 weeks prior to Easter, I was in Israel. It was the trip of a lifetime – with my son Tyler, my best friend Timo Strawbridge and about 20 other people from Trinity and our daughter churches.
When asked what my highlight was, I’m torn between checking an item off my bucket list and getting stopped at the Frankfurt, Germany security line. Apparently the Dead Sea mud mask cosmetics I bought for my wife and daughters set off the x-ray as suspiciously similar to plastic explosives. It quickens your pulse to have 3 Bundespolizei officers with machine guns standing right behind you. On alert.
I love to travel, and all of this was one grand adventure. We started in the south of Israel by the Dead Sea. Yes, I got in – and floated effortlessly. And when you get out it feels like you’ve been in baby oil. That was where I had my first meal with hummus (the first of 20). Nearby we visited Masada, En-Gedi where David hid from King Saul, and Qumran where they found the famous Dead Sea Scrolls.
Next we went all the way to the north to the region of Galilee. And it was marvelous getting to be at the sites where we know Jesus really was! Where Mary of Magdalene was from; where He fed the 5,000 and where He gave the Sermon on the Mount; at Bethsaida and Capernaum. And Timo gave my favorite devotional lesson at the site where Jesus, after His resurrection, forgave Peter for denying Him 3 times.
Then we went to Jerusalem. It didn’t hurt that we stayed in one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever visited. And then we walked about 1,000 miles. Okay, maybe 100. If it had anything to do with Jesus’ ministry in Jerusalem, we saw it. The Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, the pools at Bethesda, the pool of Siloam, the Temple Mount, His journey to the Cross: we saw it all. And my favorite – and most dear to my faith – the site many believe to be where Jesus was crucified and what’s now known as the Garden Tomb – the site of His resurrection. I will remember all my life hearing our guide (a dramatically converted lady from Sweden no less) sharing her testimony, and then getting to share the Gospel there with our entire group of about 100.
All of this really came down to how the Scriptures came to life for me. I have believed God’s Word since I was converted. But now I have seen these things. And I have in my mind now so many of the locations and how they tie together. I heartily recommend the journey if you can ever make it happen. And I hope to not bore you with how many times I will surely say, “You know, when I was in Israel…”
Things to pray for:
– Gratitude. Give thanks to Jesus for His coming to earth! Thank Him for the gift of His Word – not only for wisdom, but especially for the revelation of His work to save us.
– Hope. Ask the Lord to give you hope because of what He truly has done.
– Love. Ask the Lord to help you trust His love, especially as His faithfulness is revealed in Scripture.
– A teachable heart. We do not have to cross the globe to learn. So ask the Lord to give you a teachable heart to learn from whatever means He has provided for you.
Tim Rice, Lead Pastor & Director of Church Planting