Holy Land Revelations Part 4: The Garden Tomb

“He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.” –Matthew 28:6
Those few words changed the history of the universe. How exciting that Resurrection Day, which we celebrated two days ago, is the biggest event in human history!

Darkness and despair died.
Light, Love and Life overcame the grave.
Hope and anticipation were born in the hearts of all who believe.

I felt that same hope, anticipation and overwhelming peace visiting the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. This Garden Tomb is one of two sites that scholars consider that could be the location of the burial and resurrection of Jesus.

 

It is also adjacent to a rocky slope. Some scholars believe this to be Calvary, or Golgotha.

Our guide gave us the history lesson before we took Communion and were able to walk inside the empty tomb.  We took Communion in the cistern of the garden, close to the empty tomb. It was such a powerful experience to take the bread and drink the cup, knowing Jesus sacrificed His body and bled for us in this close proximity.

Although no one knows for sure where the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus took place, some facts do point to the site being at the Garden Tomb.

Site of the Crucifixion:

  • Outside the city walls of Jerusalem (Hebrews 13:12)
  • Along a busy road (Mark 15:21, 29-30)
  • The place of the skull—Golgotha (John 19:17)
  • A garden is nearby (John 19:41)

 

Site of the Tomb:

  • In a garden (John 19:41)
  • Belonged to a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57-60)
  • Cut out of a rock (Mark 15:46)
  • Low doorway (John 20:5)
  • Burial chamber located to the right of the entrance (Mark 16:5)

“At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!’ …

“Then the disciples went back to their home, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb, and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman why are you crying?’

‘They have taken my Lord away, ‘ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

‘Woman,’ he said, ‘Why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’

Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher).

Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them. I am returning to my Father and your Father to my God and your God.’ (Editor’s note: Can you imagine how tightly Mary must have been bear hugging Jesus for Him to tell her to let go?)

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’ And she told them he had said these things to her.” –John 19: 41-42, John 20: 1-2, 10-18.

Friend, whether or not this particular Garden was the actual site where Jesus was crucified and buried or not, we know for sure that on the third day after His burial, the tomb was empty. He is risen, indeed!

Just days prior, Jesus had been overwhelmed with sorrow in the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing what was before Him. Jesus conquered sin and death, and He rose from the grave victorious!

He is risen! He is risen, indeed!

Have you accepted Jesus today as Lord and Savior, knowing that beautiful Truth? If not, today is the perfect day.

Here is how you can receive Christ:

  1. Admit your need. (I have sinned, have messed up).
  2. Be willing to turn away from your sins and make a fresh start (repent).
  3. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose from the grave.
  4. Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come in and guide your life through the Holy Spirit. (Receive Him as Lord and Savior).

Simply pray this prayer:

Dear God,

I know that I am a a sinner and have messed up. All the tears I’ve cried and hurt I’ve felt–it’s Yours now.  I want to turn from my sins, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe He died for my sins and that You raised Him to life. I want Him to come into my heart and guide my life. I want to trust Jesus as my Savior and follow Him as my Lord from this day forward. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

All of us here on earth and in heaven are celebrating with you, friend. IF you just prayed that prayer, please send me an email at Danya@proverbs31.org. I’d love to send you a free small gift to celebrate the biggest decision of your life.

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Holy Land Revelations Part 3: Waved Palms to Pierced Palms

Happy Holy Week!

The breeze picked up as we began our descent walking down the Mount of Olives to the gates of Jerusalem. The same road Jesus took. I can only imagine the excited cheering of the great crowd surrounding Jesus on that day of His Triumphal Entry almost 2000 years ago.

“They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
‘Hosanna!’
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
‘Blessed is the King of Israel.’

Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written;
‘Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.'”–John 12:13-15. 🙌🙌🙌
.
Oh, how fickle they were.
We are.
I am.
To sing “Hosanna!” on Sunday and “Crucify Him” on Friday.

From waved palms to pierced palms.

May this Holy Week and Easter be the most transformational of our lives. Savor every moment as we remember Jesus’ immeasurable love and sacrifice for us. The best is yet to come.

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Planting Seeds or Pulling Weeds

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I reflected  as I drove on South Carolina’s back roads, heading home from my beautiful 86-year-old aunt’s funeral. My classy, elegant aunt had lived a life filled with serving the Lord and telling everyone she could about Jesus. It was such an uplifting service.

Only a few miles into my journey back to Charlotte from Georgetown, SC, I passed this profound message on the side of the dilapidated barn. Although in a hurry to get home, the Holy Spirit nudged me to turn around and take photos of the barn.

The urgent and it’s weedy, rusty surroundings seared in my memory. The sign says it all, even amidst the unkempt bushes and vines, and rusty tin roof.

Oh, how easily life and spheres of influence  can become “unkempt” if intentionality and care are not shown. How about our marriages, our family, our friendships, our coworkers? All those relationships can have weeds of problems grow up in the middle. It takes work to keep the weeds out, to water and fertilize the relationships.  Weeds can be dangerous, stunt growth, and even choke your yard and your relationships.

Telling people about Jesus is different, though. We are to plant seeds about Jesus and His love and salvation.  Pulling those “weeds” of non-believers is God’s job.  We are not to judge.

“Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared…’The servants asked him, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?”

‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grown together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters; First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'” –Matthew 13:24-26, 28-30.

As we go about our days, may we tend to the gardens of our hearts with love and tender care, planting, fertilizing, watering, and even pulling weeds of  obstacles out of our relationships.  Keep planting seeds for Jesus, friend. He will harvest them in His time. May we all sense the urgency to tell others about Jesus before it’s too late.

Reflect:

To whom have you planted seeds about Jesus and His love recently?

How are you tending the gardens of your relationships and your heart?

Renew: 

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-9

Respond:

What seeds will you plan to plant for Jesus this week?

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