Israel Study Tour with Legacy Milestones

May 28 - Jun 8, 2016

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The final day

It is almost unbelievable that today marked our final day walking the ancient paths. We walked, ran, sweat, laughed, cried, learned, and Lord willing, became more like our Rabbi, Jesus. The final day put us right in the footsteps of Jesus’ finals days.

We began our day on the Mount of Olives. Here we walked through Jesus’ triumphal entry and last meal with the disciples. Our vantage point afforded us a way to picture Jesus’s journey into the temple. What was even more incredible, sovereign rather, was the fact that Jesus enters the temple on lamb selection day during Passover. The Lamb of God is the spotless lamb being given for atonement. All along the way God is providing picture after picture with what Jesus was about to do. We certainly have the benefit of seeing these locations and buildings first hand, but the pictures are all drawn from the text.

Mount of Olives

Separated from the Eastern Hill (the Temple Mount and the City of David) by the Kidron Valley, the Mt. of Olives has always been an important feature in Jerusalem’s landscape. From the 3rd millennium B.C. until the present, this 2900-foot hill has served as one of the main burial grounds for the city. The two-mile long ridge has three summits each of which has a tower built on it.

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We then moved on to the Garden of Gethsemane. Again, we were provided numerous pictures that brought the story even more to life. Gethsemane means, olive press. Equipped with this knowledge is it no wonder Jesus sweats drops of blood while in the Garden. He was pressed with grief. The mention of garden provided yet another picture for us and reminded us that what Jesus was doing was not just about our salvation; it was about the restoration of all things back to Eden.

Our next stop was the pool of Bethesda. You can read the account of what occurs here in John 5. One of the key things to note was that there was likely a temple to Esclepius, the god of healing, near the pool of Bethesda. Many people would have come to find healing from Esclepius at the pool of Bethesda. Worship of Esclepius stretched from Israel all the way into Asia Minor, where the disciple John would later take the Gospel. We were challenged through our experience to show up, be present because we never know what the Lord has.

Right before lunch we traveled to the Church of the Holy Seplecur. This church is built on one of the two popular locations of Jesus’ crucifixion. We also experienced a first century tomb similar to that of Jesus’ tomb. All of the pictures that were provided only deepened our affections for King Jesus

We finished our day with a walk around the ramparts to the southern steps where Peter delivered his Pentacost sermon. We concluded with a challenge to go and do the hard things for the glory of God. Go and walk, talk, and live so that the world will know there is a God in heaven.

Please pray for our travel day tomorrow as we journey home. Thanks for walking the path with us.

- Kade Pierce

Southern Steps

An enormous flight of steps leads to the Southern Wall from the south. They were excavated after 1967 by archaeologist Benjamin Mazar and are the northernmost extension of the Jerusalem pilgrim road leading from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount via the Double Gate and the Triple Gate, collectively called the Huldah Gates. These are the steps that Jesus of Nazareth[2][3] and other Jews of his era walked up to approach the Temple, especially on the great pilgrimage festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. [2] The stairs that lead to the double gate are intact and "well-preserved."[4] The steps that lead to the triple gate were mostly destroyed.[4] / The risers are low, a mere 7 to 10 inches high, and each step is 12 to 35 inches deep, forcing the ascending pilgrims to walk with a stately, deliberate tread.[2] The pilgrims entered the temple precincts through the double and triple gates still visible in the Southern Wall.[5][2] Together, the double and triple gates are known as the Hulda Gates, after the prophetess Huldah.[2]

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