Having just returned from Israel, I’m overflowing with expanded perspectives. I can’t truly describe the full experience, but here are three that impacted me significantly:
Compared to today’s mega churches, Jesus had a relatively small following. Jerusalem is small and walkable, and would have been even more so in Jesus’ day. His Galileean ministry would have been just a few square miles. Nearby populations were mostly in the hundreds. The setting Jesus operated in was small, and few people followed him prior to his resurrection.
The nation of Israel’s current success is more miraculous than we realize. We don’t get how unprecedented it is that a nation be completely destroyed, its people enslaved, scattered, and re-assembled in a barren land, only to become one of the most productive, wealthy, educated and powerful nations in the region.
Third, the holy sites show how Jesus was among the ordinary world. The Garden of Gethsemane still holds the everyday olive trees which stood next to Jesus as he prayed and prepared for the cross. Nearby Golgotha Hill, thought to be “the skull” upon which the cross was posted, is rather unimpressive, looming above a bus terminal and piles of litter and garbage. It was alongside an old Roman road where torture was intended to be public and humiliating. These ordinary surroundings helped me imagine Jesus doing miracles, praying & giving up his very life, while the world went about shopping, working, bartering and traveling along the road.
You’ll be hearing more from me as the months go by, but for now let me just say thank you to all who prayed for us during this experience, as it was indeed life-changing.
Chris Kainu – Senior Pastor