Today we began on the Mount of Olives with a view of the city, then we walked the Palm Sunday route. We went to the Temple steps and laid our hands upon the paces where Jesus walked. We visited the Upper Room and walked to the church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (we saw the gravesite of Oskar Schindler on the way) and saw the stairs from Jesus’ day that are there. We explored the City of David and the Pool of Siloam, where Jesus healed the blind man. We visited the scale model of the City as it would have been in Jesus’ day and walked through the Shrine of the Book to see the Scroll of Isaiah and other Dead Sea scrolls. We ended the day with a visit to Yad Vashem – the Holocaust museum.
“Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.” Luke 21:37-38 NIV
One of the things we talk about on a trip like this are “right here!” moments. They are the moments when we are standing in the places where Jesus stood, where we can read the scriptures and say, “that happened right here!”
They are moments that take our breath away, that make our hearts quicken, that bring tears to our eyes. They are different for every pilgrim, you never know when an ordinary moment is going to become a “right here!” moment.
For me, the Temple Steps is the ultimate “right here!” moment. You can argue about where Jesus actually was at the other sites, but you cannot argue about the Temple Steps. If Jesus existed, and if he went to the Temple (both things that even non-Christians find easy to accept), then he ascended into the temple by walking up the Temple Steps.
Three times I have laid my hands on those steps and taken pictures – twice with my parents, and now, once with some wonderful pilgrims from Graceview Presbyterian Church (where I have the privilege of being the pastor).
Each time it has been a powerful moment. Each time I have felt my faith strengthened. Each time I have thanked God for his goodness and for the blessing of being in the place where Jesus was.
From the amount of Olives:
From the Palm Sunday Route:
From the Temple Steps:
From the Pool of Siloam:
From the Scale Model:
From the Upper Room: