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!