It’s time to ascend into the City of God, the Golden City, – JERUSALEM, the city of our Great King. Words and pictures cannot do it justice; it’s simply somewhere you need to go.
MOUNT of OLIVES
DAN: From the top of Olives we see a marvelous view of the eastern side of the Old City. As we scan from left to right, we see the Kidron Valley, the City of David, the Southern Steps and the Golden Gate also known as the Eastern Gate! What a view! At the bottom of this hill is the Garden of Gethsemane. Right behind this hill, only a few miles away, we have the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus! The sights and sounds are amazing and, as we quiet ourselves, we seek to hear even the rocks that will cry out Hosannas to Jesus! Besides all of this, we will have a special treat as we sit and hear our wonderful guide teach us about the history of Jerusalem … I promise you that as Jane teaches using the background of the Old City, you will never forget this time!
SHARON: Sitting atop the Mount of Olives, the entire history of Jerusalem sits right before your eyes. When people first come here, all anyone wants to do is to take a picture of the Golden Dome. By the end of the trip, as the people become aware of the evil that dwells here, they begin positioning people to block out the dome. In front of the Eastern Gate, the Muslims have placed a burial ground because they know the Messiah can’t defile himself by walking through the cemetery to get to the Eastern Gate. And they have sealed the Eastern Gate to prevent him from entering. There is no cemetery nor is there any amount of sealing a gate that will prevent the coming of Jesus through that gate. My God is way bigger than any of that!
DAN: When we get to this place we begin the process of REMEMBERING. This is where the “blood trail” begins – that precious blood that washes us white as snow! We are told in the Scriptures that this was a favorite spot for Jesus to “retreat” to. Today it takes some effort because of the popularity of this site, but we must make the effort to close out all the outer distractions and just see Jesus here. Do you see Him? He is praying … and He is sweating blood and He tells His Father that HIS will is all that matters! Here He becomes our Passover lamb which will be turned over to the authorities in the middle of the night … in this spot He will be betrayed with a kiss! We must remind ourselves that this event is NOT a tragedy … this was the reason He came – this event is an ACCOMPLISHMENT!
SHARON: This is a “mind’s eye” location. One can sit, look around, and picture Jesus weeping, Jesus sweating drops of blood. He did this for ME! He did this for YOU! It is said that an Olive Tree never truly dies, but that new shoots come up, transforming it into a new tree. The trees you picture in Gethsemane are “great grandchildren” of the trees that were here when Jesus sought silence. Isn’t that you and I? Our old self dying and new shoots sprouting up into a new being? SELAH!
DAN: As we walk underground through the Sisters of Mary Convent, we arrive at a very sobering place. As we walk this ancient pavement floor, we come to the place where Jesus would have been scourged. Beaten and whipped for our transgressions. Here the suffering servant pictured in Isaiah 53 endures the scourging ordered by Pilate. As we leave this place and head out toward the Via Dolorosa, we see the Ecce Homo arch and we hear the words … “Behold the Man!” As we behold the bloody mess of a man that has become our sacrificial lamb, we will sing together the lyrics: “What can wash away my sins? … NOTHING but the blood of Jesus!”
SHARON: A place of scourging. Jesus’ blood spreading on the ground. His mother doing her best to wipe it all up. I remember Dan asking me once, after watching the movie the Passion, why would she do this? I pondered his question and answered: “As a mom, this is the only thing she could do at the time for her precious son. She was performing what would be the last act of love she could give.” The blood on the ground was her son; life is in the blood. As I sit in the Pavement, all of this goes through my mind. Jesus’ blood poured out (quite literally) for me.