Wednesday (January 9) was our third and final day in Jerusalem. The day was cut short because snow was coming (perhaps you saw it on the news). It is pretty rare for their to be snow in Jerusalem. Things were closing down early, and instead of staying at the hotel on Wednesday night, we headed to Tel Aviv and stayed at a hotel near the airport. So although the day was shortened, it still was a great day.
Here are a few sites we saw on our last day of the trip:
This is a statue of King David just outside the southwest gate of the city of Jerusalem – on a place called Mt. Zion. But here is what is interesting. This is the first statute in Jerusalem and as you can see by all the black ink all over it – it has not been well accepted. Can you guess why?
You can see that King David's nose is broken off. Orthodox Jews believe that the second command applies to any statue, painting, or drawing. Here is Exodus 20:
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
So Orthodox Jews "desecrated" the statue by throwing black ink on it and breaking off the nose. Our guide suggested that perhaps someone broke off the nose because Muslims won't worship an image that is broken. So perhaps some Orthodox Jews broke the nose off to discourage worshipping the image of David.
Right next to the statue of David is the traditional location of the Upper Room. This room was built several hundred years after Christ, but the location is a possibility. I love this room. To consider what happened here is life-altering. You can read about the events here in John 13-17. These five chapters are the most detailed account of a few hours of any time in Jesus' life. I love these chapters of the New Testament.
My favorite things (or most powerful things) that happened or were said in the Upper Room:
- The washing of the disciples feet – John 13:1-17
- Jesus told Judas to leave – that if he was to betray him, he should do it now – John 13:27
- John 13:35 – "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
- Jesus promises to leave, but to come back – John 14:3
- John 14:6 – "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
- John 15:13 – "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."
- John 15:18-20 – Jesus promises that we will be persecuted. It seems to me that people want to avoid suffering at all costs. But that just isn't possible if we are followers of Jesus.
- John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
- John 17:9 – "I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours."
- I love this prayer! John 17:15 – "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one."
- John 17:18 – "As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world."
- Jesus prays for us – John 17:20 – "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message."
We then went to the Jerusalem museum to see the the Dead Sea Scrolls (no photos allowed) and to view this model of 1st Century Jerusalem. I love this model and talking about what life was like in Jesus' day.
We then went over to the Holocaust Museum. I've been to the one in DC about a dozen times, but this was my second visit to this museum. We had to view it quickly because they were closing at noon because of the coming snow. That is our guide, Eran, in the black windbreaker and hat.
After lunch, we had to go back and pack, but before leaving town we stopped by the Garden Tomb and the "Place of the Skull." There are two primary locations believed to be the place where Jesus died and rose again. One of them is covered by a church building (The Church of the Holy Sepulchre). I probably lean toward the evidence of it more likely being at The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but the Garden Tomb is a much nicer environment (not covered by a church building). This cliff looked much like a skull before a parking lot was put in at the bottom of the cliff and covered the mouth. At the top of the hill is a cemetery that could be the location where Jesus died.
This likely is not the tomb it which Jesus was buried, as it is likely from the 5th century, but it does show was a tomb may have looked like that Jesus was buried in. I love the atmosphere and contemplating the event that changed world history. Although it may not have happened here, it likely happened within a half-mile of here.
And when I stood there for a few minutes and watched members of our group go inside and look at the tomb – all I could consider is this: "They are going in to look at NOTHING! He isn't there! He has risen as he said he would!" I love that! Oh, what a Savior!
At every hotel we stayed in they have mezuza's on the door frame. A mezuza is a small scroll on the door frame of every home of an Orthodox Jew and in every hotel. It contains to passages of Scripture – Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Deuteronomy 11:13-21.
They do it because Deuteronomy 6:9 says that they are to:
9 Write them [these commands] on the door frames of your houses and on your gates."
They take that literally – so the command on the door frames of their homes. And when they enter or leave their home, they touch the mezuza and kiss the finger that touched it.
Tomorrow, one more photo from Israel – my favorite photo from the trip.