Not my will but thine be done
The hymn writer summed up my heart today with these wonderful words “When morning guilds the sky my heart awaking cries, may Jesus Christ be praised.”
On our way to the Mount of Olives, Miriam pointed out some Muslim children heading off to school. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim children all go to school separately. Jewish children are off from school today, for the Sabbath (Saturday). This way of life goes back to the British mandate period. Children study numerous subjects including religion. Miriam pointed out that this forces the children to live apart from each group, according to religion, so they really never spend time together.
The names of the famous mountains around Jerusalem are Mount Scopus, Mount of Olives, Mount Zion and Mount Moreh. The population of Jerusalem is about 75% Jewish. Miriam pointed out the Tower of the Ascension, a Russian Orthodox Church and she reminded us of Jesus’s ascension to heaven was from the Mount of Olives.
We walked from the Mount of Olives down an incredibly steep hill to the base of the mountain. Jesus traveled this route every day during His last week. He stayed in Bethany, it is believed by many. The Garden of Gethsemane means “place of the olive press.” It is interesting to note that none of these olive trees are from the time of Christ. The Roman’s chopped down all the trees to be used in the burning of Jerusalem.
We know that Jesus prayed here, “Let this cup pass from me.” Humanly, Jesus wanted to avoid the cross, but He also declared “not my will but thine be done.” In the garden we had a time of private prayer to get alone with the Lord.
Walking tour of the old city of Jerusalem
After leaving the Mount of Olives we walked through the old city of Jerusalem. Currently there are 35,000 people live in the old city. We saw the Lion Gate was the biblical sheep gate where the sheep were brought in and washed for sacrifice.
We visited the church of St. Anne. This was named after Mary’s mother Hannah (Anne derived from Hannah). It is a reconstructed Crusader’s church. While in the church Tim lead us in the song “How Great Thou Art” because the acoustics are wonderful in the church. Next we visited the Pool of Bethesda or the pool of five porches. This is where the waters were troubled supposedly by an angel, excavations revealed a pagan shrine to a god of healing. The arch is set on top of the dam built by Herod so it could be a reservoir.
We walked the Via Dolorosa and learned the Stations of the Cross are originally from the Middle Ages. Crucifixions were done right outside the city. We saw the Behold the Man arch (was actually built by emperor Hadrian 100 years after Jesus but is probably the actual place where Jesus was presented to the crowd). Excavations confirmed that fact. We visited the rooftop of the stores below and learned there are Armenian, Christian, Jewish and Muslim quarters in Jerusalem. In the Muslim quarter there are large families in small quarters, it’s the poorest section. The Jewish quarter is the most modern.
We visited an Ethiopian Monastery and learned a little about their history and how they trace their roots back to the Queen of Sheba and Solomon. It is associated with the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where some believe Jesus was crucified and buried. The church is held by six different sects. There is a famous ladder outside the church. The ladder was put out there to fix the window by the Greek Orthodox but the ledge belongs to the Roman Catholic. So the ladder sits. We saw the Stone of Anointing where it is believed that Joseph of Arimathea prepared Jesus’ body for burial.
We were first taken to Skull Hill. There we saw what was probably an ancient quarry. Tradition suggests that this quarry fell into disuse and became a site of public executions. Originally by stoning and possibly later used by the Romans for a crucifixion site. We were told that no one knows for sure that this is the spot of Jesus’ crucifixion and that perhaps this was for the best since traditionally people began to worship the place and not the person. Above the area in Arabic there are two signs that read: “Graveyard of the many martyrs” and “Allah is great.” The Gordon’s Calvary location was purchased in 1894. We were reminded of the Biblical account that Jesus was laid in the unused tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. There must have a real cost for those who requested the body of Jesus. We visited a tomb on the site. The first chamber is the weeping chamber. The tomb was obviously not well used. Traditionally bones were ultimately placed in an Ossuary.
We enjoyed a beautiful time celebrating the Lord’s death while we were there. Pastor Tim led us in the songs, “Old Rugged Cross” and “Calvary.” Then Jim Showers reminded us of our footsteps today. It isn’t really important where Jesus was buried but the fact that His grave, His tomb is empty. Jesus’s crucifixion was at Passover. Jesus sent His disciples to prepare the upper room. It was not without design that Jesus celebrated the Passover before His death. God wanted us to know that He is our judge. Passover angel would Passover the Jewish homes that did exactly as they were instructed. The requirement was the blood of an innocent lamb. God required blood to be applied to the doorposts and lintels (exact parallel of where the blood was on the cross of Jesus), Mt. 26:26 this is my body...this is my blood which is shed for you.
We sang a closing hymn after our fellowship around the table and then headed for the bookstore.