On this Friday we were back in Jerusalem and traveled the path of the Passion and Christ’s resurection. We began at the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed and was arrested.
Our next stop on the journey was the traditional location of the Upper Room, the location of the Last Supper and the place where the disciples stayed after Jesus’ death. We then visited King David’s tomb, near the Upper Room. It is widely accepted that this is the not the actual burial place of David, but it is a place where many come to honor him.
We next visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the location of the last stations of the Via Dolorosa including Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, and the tomb where he was buried. Amidst the chaos of the throngs of people and the somewhat overwhelmingly ornate decor of the church, there were many who were clearly taking the time to sit in the reality of Christ’s sacrifice. We can never overstate the significance of the empty tomb, but it is important we don’t skip over the cross on our way there.
We stopped for lunch on a rooftop in the old city and took some time for souvenir shopping before continuing our pilgrimage.
We continued on the Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus took from his sentencing to the cross and then the grave. Today the locations of events that happened along the way are marked by signs. We ended up going backwards and quickly as we were trying to get to our last site before it closed. The way we traveled the Via Dolorosa was not the slow, reflective journey I was hoping for. But maybe the hurried, hectic pace while lugging heavy bags was more akin to Jesus’ journey than a leisurely prayerful walk.
We ended this day at the Garden Tomb, a site believed by some to be the true location of Jesus’ burial and resurrection. Regardless of where you land on that subject, the beauty of the Garden Tomb is that the caretakers have maintained the site as a garden that fits the description of where Jesus was buried to give pilgrims a better sense of what the area was like.
To be in the city where Jesus gave it all was powerful. Wherever you are, take time to sit in the truth of his amazing love for us.