Today we visited Herodium, the Lion's Gate in Jerusalem, the Praetorium in Antonio's Fortress, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Garden Tomb. Although visiting all of these sites was amazing, the Praetorium in Antonio's Fortress – where Jesus was questioned by Pilate and then flogged, beaten, and mocked before walking to the cross –had the most impact on me.
Thinking about the process of crushing olives and considering that this garden is where Jesus came to pray before his arrest, it gives some perspective on Isaiah 53:5 where it says that, "He was crushed for our iniquities," and again in Isaiah 53:10 it says, "But the LORD was pleased to crush Him." The evening that Jesus spent in the garden was a time of agonizing prayer, absolute betrayal and ultimate desertion. And that was only the beginning of the crushing of Christ.
Day 9 in Israel was a unique privilege. Two things stood out to me today about our experiences. We travelled to the far northern end of the land where at Tel Dan we surveyed the remains of a sanctuary in which Jeroboam, son of Nebat, likely placed his golden calf. We read of this act of spiritual treachery in 2 Kings 12:26–29...
Today we were scheduled to spend the whole day in Jerusalem. But at breakfast, our Israeli guide informed us that he had received an email stating that the US State Dept had issued a warning against Americans being inside the old city today. Today was the Sabbath or commonly known as Shabbat, plus it was also the anniversary of the 1967 six-day war of Independence, and there was a possibility that the Muslims would "act up."
To try and describe in words what we saw is such a daunting task. We were able to visit Mount Carmel and see where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal. To grasp what it would mean for the people to take the 450 prophets of Baal down to the Brook of Keshawn and slaughter them was mind-blowing.