For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
We woke up this morning with the anticipation that Christmas is coming!
Breakfast was everything we expected. The Inbal Jerusalem serves chocolate lava cake. I’ll confess; I ate two of them before 7:00 am. To top it off, the server delivered a cold glass of milk. What a way to start Monday morning!
Our first stop of the morning was the Temple Mount. It’s a holy site for Christians. This is Mount Moriah in the Old Testament. God called Abraham to sacrifice his only Son on this mountain (Genesis 22). What are you and I willing to sacrifice to obey the Lord? Abraham departed early in the morning to obey. And as we know, God provided a ram. You and I know, love, and serve a Father who always provides.
The Temple Mount is the third holiest place for Muslims: Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. From the Dome of the Rock, the prophet Mohammed went to heaven and met with Moses. Moses told Mohammed to led Muslims to pray five times a day. A major focus of the Temple Mount is sacrifice. Jewish people would sacrifice to God an animal without blemish. God deserved their best. He still deserves our best. Are you and I giving the Lord our best, what we don’t need, or what we have left over? We saw the Eastern Gate (Golden Gate, Beautiful Gate). The Eastern Gate is closed today. However, one day, Jesus is going to return and come through that Gate.
We read John 5:1-15 at the Pool of Bethesda. The wounded, blind, and lame would gather at this place. When the water was stirred, the first one in was healed. Jesus healed a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. Jesus changed his life both physically and spiritually. How has Jesus changed your life?
There are cats everywhere in Israel. A funny thing happened today. Shafik was talking, and a cat came and snuggled at his feet. He isn’t a cat lover. It gave us a chance for a good laugh. Laughter is good for the soul.
We sang today in St. Anne’s Church. We lifted our voices to the Lord and sang, “Because He Lives, All the Praise, and Holy, Holy, Holy.” A Polish group followed us and worshipped the Lord in their language. Today reminded me of Revelation 7:9-12. People from every nation, tribe, people, and language will gather and worship the Lord.
We toured the Jerusalem Museum. A model city of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago is located here. We talked again about the Temple Mount. This area had several courts: (1) Gentile Court. (2) Jewish Court. (3) Priestly Court. (4) Holy of Holies. A call to prayer would go out calling people to sacrifice. This happened at 3:00 pm. The Muslim call to prayer came from first-century Judaism. Beginning at 3:00 pm, blood and water flowed from the Temple down to Jericho and the Dead Sea. Here’s an important connection for us. Jesus was crucified at 3:00 pm. Blood and water flowed from His body. Jesus was the last sacrifice. His sacrificial death was once and for all.
Today’s worship service focused on the Mount of Olives. Jesus stood on this mountain. As Luke says, Jesus looked at the city of Jerusalem and wept (Luke 19:41). Are we weeping over the lostness in our city? Our worship location today was picturesque. The Holy City of Jerusalem was before us. We could see the Temple Mount and the City of David. After our worship service, we saw the new United States Embassy in Jerusalem.
Lunch was in Bethlehem. We left the restaurant, went to a shepherd’s cave, and enjoyed Christmas in April. Our group was blessed to read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and sing many of our favorite Christmas carols. We talked about these three truths (1) Bethlehem says, “God is with us;” (2) Calvary says, “God is for us;” and (3) Pentecost says, “God is in us.” It’s always special to be in Bethlehem and sing, “Away in a Manger, Silent Night, and Joy to the World.” We made our way to the Church of the Nativity. As expected, the crowds were overwhelming.
The city of Bethlehem is much different today than in the days of Jesus. We saw a Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Stars & Bucks Café. Bethlehem is no longer a little town.
We have two more days in Jerusalem. Thank you for praying for our group!
God is With Us,