Over the next couple weeks I will be writing a series called “Wondering in the Promised Land.” I hope to convey what it is like to both wonder about and wander in a place that is near and dear to my heart. I will be taking a group October 6-15 of this year, and if you are interested in learning more or curious about going, please contact me or click here to see some of the details.
Six months from today I will have the privilege of being in Israel leading a group to the Holy Land once again. And as we approach Passion Week, I can’t help but recall how amazing it is to experience first-hand the historical Biblical sites and connect to all that Jesus Christ did for us. Whether it be looking out off the deck of a boat on the Sea of Galilee considering Jesus’ call to be fishers of men or worshipping in the Garden of Gethsemane rejoicing in the fact that Jesus refused to give up on me, I am in awe of what the God-man Jesus Christ went through in order to have a personal relationship with me.
There is a particular street in Old Jerusalem that has been permanently affixed to my memory of this wonderful place. This street is unlike many that you will see in Jerusalem, for most of the streets are busy and bustling with shops, cafés, military personnel, and beggars. However, this one has none of those things. It is empty. In fact, until just a couple years ago it was buried. It had feet upon feet of dirt and rock on top of it until some repairs led to a discovery of archeological significance, and this two thousand year old street began to be unearthed. Its location and antiquity almost guaranteed that Jesus walked on this street and probably carried the cross on it to His place of execution. Underneath one of the churches on the “Via Dolorosa,” one has the opportunity to see these large stones and other antiquities that almost allow a person to travel back in time to when Jesus walked these streets. As I recall placing a hand on the large stones (pictured below), I cannot help but think of how Jesus carried that wooden instrument of death (and salvation) for me. Beaten, bruised, and bleeding He struggled to carry the cross to Calvary where He would hang for my sins. Do I live each day with full appreciation for what it meant for Jesus to give His life for my sake? It would be very easy for me to go through an entire day, if not longer, without considering how my life has been changed because Jesus was willing to carry the cross. And yet there kneeling on an ancient street, I am quickly and powerfully reminded just how much my life should represent that gift that Christ gave me.
This street, like much of what Jesus did, were easily covered up by years of neglect, turmoil, and carelessness, only to be uncovered by an unexpected discovery, revealing just how precious the journey was that led Christ to die for me. Have you allowed what Jesus Christ has done for you to be buried and hidden? What in your life represents the dirt and rubble that covered this street for millennia? It may simply be the business of work and family. It very likely consists of sins of pride, selfishness, lust, and hate. If we are not careful, we can fail to let Christ’s sacrifice become insignificant and forgotten because we have buried it under the things of this world. Remember to uncover His gift in your life this Easter.