Is this the God in whom we trust?

In our Bible reading plan, Jeremiah 1-29 was recommended last week. A short passage from Jeremiah was also one of the readings in the church service. God has a way of getting His point across. I only hope I am fully listening.

God told Jeremiah to tell his kinsmen that their sin was so pervasive he wasn’t to pray for them. Infuriated that Jeremiah would not pray for them, the people plotted to kill Jeremiah. God told Jeremiah of their scheme. Jeremiah responded: Continue reading

Our real estate

In the background, the Old Testament tel of Beit She’an is covered in grass. The green grass on the tel won’t last long. The New Testament remains of the “Cardo,” a Roman colonnaded street at Scythopolis, is in the center.

Jordan Rift. Beit She’an (“house of ease”) is located south of the Sea of Galilee near the convergence of the Jordan Rift Valley and the Harod Valley. Continue reading

Experience the disappointment

The Silver Star which marks the traditional birthplace of Jesus Christ.

Hill Country of Judah. This morning’s adventures began with a short drive on the ancient Road of the Patriarchs (now known as Hebron Road). This is the main north-south road through the Hill Country that connects Shechem, Shiloh, Bethel, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Hebron. Continue reading

The best view

From Mt. Gilboa looking at the battlefield where Gideon’s 300 “soldiers” fought the Midianites.

Harod Valley. The Harod Valley is somewhat located between the hill of Moreh and Mt. Gilboa. At the base of Mt. Gilboa is a natural water spring that flows to the Jordan River. Because of the steady supply of water, the valley is ideal for agriculture. In the Old Testament, the Harod Valley was also a strategic pass from Jezreel to Beit She’an. Continue reading

Looking for a hiding place

A waterfall at En Gedi, Israel

Dead Sea Region. We concluded our trip south today. Tonight we are again in Jerusalem. Everyone is preparing for the quiz in the morning. The reward will be a free day to rest, shop, or explore on our own in the Old City. The group is relatively healthy (a few sniffles, nothing more; some soreness from the extra hikes, nothing that snorkeling in the Red Sea or a float in the Dead Sea didn’t fix). Continue reading

Christ the Lord is risen today!

The Garden Tomb (and Gordon’s Calvary) is a special place to visit in Jerusalem. This site is named after the British General Charles Gordon. General Gordon was a guest of the Spaffords at the American Colony, enjoying a little “R and R.” The American Colony was started in 1881, aiming to help others with physical and economic needs. Horatio Spafford is best known as the author of the words to the hymn “It is well, with my soul.”

The story is told that as General Gordon was strolling along the rampart wall of Old City Jerusalem, he was thinking about the death and burial of Jesus Christ. In his walk, he glanced across the road and saw a rock formation that seemed to resemble a “skull” (which in Latin is “calvary”). General Gordon believed this site to be where Jesus was crucified and buried.

Today, the Garden Tomb is an oasis in the midst of a very noisy city. The roar of the traffic and crowds becomes a quiet hum inside their walls. It is beautifully landscaped and a reverent place to think about the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, the tomb they claim to be the one Jesus temporarily used is not correct. That tomb dates to the Old Testament Iron Age (1200-600 BC). Scripture says that Jesus was laid in a “new tomb” (Matthew 27:59-61).

In the end, it doesn’t matter whether Jesus died on Skull Rock and was buried in the Garden Tomb or near where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre stands today or somewhere else in Jerusalem. The truth is Jesus died, was buried, and rose again the third day.

May we agree with Paul in his letter to the Romans and with one voice respond, He is risen, indeed!