The Walls of Old Jerusalem as Night Falls
How do you paint a picture of feelings and impressions? The best I can offer is by way of a few clips about my recent journey to Israel. As part of a pastor team, we left on Feb. 28th, arriving in Tel Aviv on the 1st of March. For the first time in my life, though visiting many places around the globe, I set my feet on the soil of the land called "promise". Inside I'm singing, "I walked today where Jesus walked, and felt His presence there."
Given the responsibilty in our team to record a study on the Mount of Olives and in the Garden of Gethsemane, I did so with a large lump in my throat. Surrounded by age-old Olive trees, we knelt in a time of prayer and my heart sang, "I knelt today where Jesus knelt, and felt His presence there."
Visiting the traditional sites of His crucifixion and burial, I was struck again by the reality of His saving sacrifice of love. My heart sang again, "Lo in the grave He lay" and "up from the grave He arose." I felt again His presence, affirming His death and resurrection in my own heart.
As we walked and retraced the steps He took, bearing the cross to Calvary, I was struck by the narrowness of the route, realizing that at the time of His death, the streets would have been crowded with those who came to Passover. Again, my mind brought forth images that stirred my heart to sing, "Must Jesus bear the cross alone...there is a cross for me."
Our travels throughout the land of Israel took us to the far points of the compass. We took a van but had some experiences that date back to the time of Jesus. My heart found a song that spoke of His birth and the visit of the wise men. "We three kings of orient are...bearing gifts we travel far." I felt again His presence, declared by God in the coming of a baby who would be my Saviour.
As we stood overlooking the wall where so many spend days on end in prayer for their messiah, I was struck by the fact that the one they sought had already come. Yeshua...Jesus! My heart was sorrowed for their lack of knowing the truth that makes my heart sing again and again, "I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've delivered unto Him against that day." I know He's even there, longing to be recognized and accepted.
Having traveled from northern to southern tips of the land, and from the border at the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, I was both struck by the utter smallness of the nation's area and yet the utterly rich fullness of its heritage, its claim as the center of my faith's origin in Jesus. Paul was taken to Rome from Ceasarea's port. My heart was full and sang, "We've a story to tell to the nations." Once again I felt His presence clear and strong.
Time and space does not allow me to publish the over 5000 photos our team took in those 12 short days of journey to and in Israel. As I woke up one morning on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, the sun had not yet risen in the eastern sky. I reflected on the many days of ministry that Jesus spent around and on Galilee. With the rising of the sun, I was struck by the fact that He, too, had seen that sun rise from very near my own place of morning's meditation. Perhaps He thought of the prophecies that would be fulfilled in His own coming out of the eastern sky, indeed, the true SON RISE! My heart sang, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." I felt His presence there.
Am I glad to be back home? Yes, I am, but part of my heart I believe I left in that land. I pray that until one day I am able to return and rekindle the feelings and experiences, I will maintain by memory and walk with Him, His intimate presence where I am from day to day.
A prayer request from those we encountered in that land. Pray for the PEACE OF JERUSALEM and pray for DIVINE ENCOUNTERS that will enable them to share the goods news that Yeshua - Jesus the Messiah - has come.
Be encouraged today, my friends.