The Town of David, Jerusalem
The old Jerusalem, the city of David, was crowded with people from all over the world. The final destination of our trip was the holy city for Jews, Moslems, and Christians.
Since king Solomon built the first temple and the city wall three thousand years ago, the city has been conquered by different regimes, and the layered remains was telling it’s bitter history.
During the time of King Herod, who rebuilt the temple and the wall, Jesus entered into Jerusalem being welcomed as by Hosannas, but just in a week He was crucified on a charge of blasphemy for calling himself Son of God.
We walked the Via Dolorosa, the street Jesus walked carrying the heavy cross to Golgotha, the site of the crucifixion.
The narrow street, which was wide enough for a donkey with bags on its both left and right sides, was now crammed with small shops whose owners were busy calling tourists into their shops. Being told to watch out for pickpockets, I carried my backpack in front like carrying a baby.
When we came out to a square, I saw young soldiers carrying guns and then heard a loud long Moslem chant reminding of a prayer time from a speaker. In the square was the church of the Holy Sepulchre built on the believed site of Golgotha and the tomb Jesus was buried and resurrected from. This spectacular church is own by the Roman Catholic church, Greek Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox. It seems like there were also some conflict regarding the ownership.
This is the most holy place for Christians but all commercialism, theft, and the power struggles are disappointing like nothing has changed from the time of Jesus when He was upset with the merchants saying, “ This is my Father’s house! Not the place to make money!” and turned over their tables.
The Mount of Olives
Facing the east gate of the city was the Mount of Olives, where Jesus went to pray usually. Literally, there were lots of olive trees and among them was the church of Gethsemane or the Basilica of the Agony.
Gethsemane was the place where Jesus pleaded for his life three times before He was arrested by Roman soldiers.
“ He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, ‘ My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and Keep watch with me.’ He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, ‘ My Father! If it is possible, let hits cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet, I want your will to be done, not mine.”( Matthew 26:37-39)
In spite of the warning, the disciples fell asleep without comprehending Jesus’ sorrow and anguish at all, and when He was arrested, all of them deserted Him. Jesus had known everything, but He took it all: the fear, grief, isolation, and pain that were beyond our imagination.
Inside the church, kneeling down at the flat huge stone, which was the stone Jesus prayed on according to the church, I began to pray. Then I broke down. The thought that how much He had to suffer to save us led to the gushing emotion and trembled my shoulder. I don’t know any other gods who demonstrated such deep unfailing love besides Jesus. “May as many people as possible, including my family and friends know your sacrificial love, and receive your gift of the salvation!” I prayed.
Jesus will Return!
The Israelite’s temple was destroyed by Muslims and now on the same place there is the golden mosque standing. On this site, disgraced by humiliation and selfish greed,the Bible prophecies that Jesus will return for the final judgment.
“ Watch, for the day of the lord is coming…I will gather all the nations to fight against Jerusalem. The city will be taken, the houses looted, and the women raped…Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past.
On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem…And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—His name alone will be worshiped.” (Zechariah 14).