Yesterday I forgot to mention we tried to find the Garden Tomb. Well, we found it, but we couldn’t find where to park. So, today we went back with renewed determination to find it.
The Garden Tomb (believed to be THE tomb)
Located in a Palestinian area of town, the Garden Tomb has all the archeological signs that it was the tomb where Jesus’ body was placed when they removed it from the cross. I won’t repeat all the information they have on their web site. You can find it here: http://gardentomb.com/
Our tour guide, Norm Derkson, was great. This Canadian minister and his wife are serving at the Garden Tomb for a few months. Norm was great because he pointed out the importance of seeking the resurrected Savior. He repeated often, “He is not here; He is risen.”
I felt this to be a special place. It somewhat saddened me that Golgotha is now the backdrop for an urban bus station, and topped with a wall and a tank. (if you look near the center top you can see a military tank just to the right of the obtuse corner.)
The Door They Added
Inside the Tomb
The painted cross was added, probably by the crusaders. Letters XC means “Christ” (short for ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ). Alpha and Omega are also shown – a name for the Savior. YC for Yesu Christo. Perhaps these ancients recognized this as the tomb of Jesus Christ. Again, we don’t know, but all of the pieces of the puzzle come together at this location: Golgotha, outside the city wall, a tomb of a rich man, a tomb in a garden, the body’s resting place to the right as you enter the sepulcher, a sepulcher meant for permanent rest, and not one where they remove the bones and place them in a box later, a track for a very large stone to seal the door, etc.
A Panoramic View of the Tomb Area
Our Group Outside the Tomb (Thank You Norm)
After visiting the Garden Tomb, we continued on to Absalom’s, Jehosephat’s and Zacharais’ tombs. They are at the base of the Mount of Olives along a path that leads to the City of David near the Pool of Siloam.
We then crossed the street (Road to Jericho) and went to the traditional Garden of Gethsemane. I found it interesting that I felt a stronger spirit near the entrance to the Orson Hyde Memorial Gardens. Although beautiful and interesting, it isn’t so much important as to whether this is the actual place of the atonement, but that the atonement is real.
39 ¶And he came out, and went, as he was a, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into a.
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, a this cup from me: nevertheless not my b, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an a unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an a he prayed more earnestly: b his sweat was as it were great drops of c falling down to the ground.
Me at the Garden
Outside a Garden of Well Maintained Olive Trees
Inside the Church at the Garden of Gethsemane
We obviously didn’t travel based on the time-line of our Savior’s last week. Although that would be a fun thing to do, we visited the sites based on convenience and location. Our next stop would be Caiaphas’ house.
Church Erected Over Caiaphas’ House
It is believed that it was here where Peter denied being one of Christ’s followers.
54 ¶Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the a, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. 57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. 58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. 59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilæan. 60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61 And the a turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
Peter Denies the Christ
It was hear where Jesus stood before the high priest Caiaphas and they took him to a pit under the house.
Our next stop was a church built where the “upper room” would have been. No, this is not the same building. In fact, the city of Jerusalem where Christ would have been is several feet below the modern city. Remember, Jerusalem has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. However, it is believed it would have been in this general area.
The “Upper Room”
Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Kosher Pizza (No Meat with Cheese!)
Aladdin Shopped Here