Today Christianity is the world’s largest religion with more than 2.5 billion adherents spread out in every country of the world. However, the origins of our faith stem from events in and around a relatively small land — Israel.
Next May (May 10-20, 2024) I will be leading a trip to this land of the Bible. Why? Well, I believe that for followers of Jesus visiting Israel is not just a great bucket-list item. It holds the potential of being a life-changing experience.
Here are just a few reasons for visiting Israel at least once in your lifetime:
TO CONNECT WITH THE ROOTS OF YOUR FAITH
God’s relationship with Israel is the basis of the Christian faith. One of the first things you realize when you visit Israel is that the whole country is made up of layer upon layer of history.
For example, we all know Bethlehem was the birthplace of Jesus, but it was also King David’s hometown. And Abraham’s binding of his son, Isaac, is said to have taken place on Mount Moriah, which is the same place King Solomon built his Temple many generations later. It is also, many believe, where Jesus was crucified 1,000 years later.
To walk where Jesus walked and to stand in the land so central to all of Scripture is an opportunity to strengthen your faith by seeing the places you’ve only read about in the Bible.
TO SEE WHERE JESUS DID HIS MINISTRY
The majority of Jesus’ teaching took place in the small towns around the Sea of Galilee. This is where Jesus called all His disciples and where He chose to reunite with them after He rose from the dead.
Visiting Israel you will see that the ancient town of Capernaum, where Jesus performed many of His miracles, remains largely like it was in the days of the Bible. Thanks to recent excavations the synagogue where Jesus once taught, as well as the house where the Apostle Peter once lived, can now be visited. And not far from there is the hill where it’s believed Jesus shared the Beatitudes and gave the famous Sermon on the Mount.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity.Psalm 122:6-9
TO SEE WHERE JESUS DIED AND ROSE
Just as important as the town where Jesus grew up and began His ministry is the city where He suffered and died. Jerusalem and its immediate surroundings include the Western Wall (known in the West as the Wailing Wall), the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, and many more places where Jesus and His disciples spent their final months in ministry. You can experience first-hand a walk on the Via Dolorosa (the processional route Jesus would have taken on the way to His crucifixion), a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (the church built on site of the crucifixion), and a visit to the Garden Tomb where it is believed Jesus was buried and where He rose.
TO SEE WHERE THE CHURCH WAS BORN
The city of Jerusalem is also the place where the New Testament Church was born. It is on the Southern Temple Steps facing the city of Bethlehem (first excavated in 1967) that the early Church gathered after the Day of Pentecost and first worshiped together as a community. It’s believed that it was on these steps that pilgrims in earlier generations would sing the Psalms of Ascent as they went up to worship in the Temple. Mikveh baths (ritual baths for cleansing one’s hands and feet) have also been discovered on the site and may have been used for the first baptisms of the early Christian congregation.
JOURNEY TO THE LAND OF THE BIBLE
Would you like to visit Israel next spring? If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity in May 2024, I am holding an interest meeting this month (Thursday, April 27, at 7:00PM) at the church.
There are a limited number of spots available, so if you are planning to attend this month’s interest meeting please click the button below to let us know you’re coming. Hope to see you there!