• Written by Lea Gooch •

We saw many things in Israel today—the Temple Mount, the Western Wall and the tunnels all around it, St. Anne’s Church and the pools of Bethesda, Bethlehem, the Shepherd’s fields, and Herodium. But I didn’t just see those sights, I beheld afresh our Jesus, “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29). Let me explain …

We started the day by going up to the Temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock now sits. Throughout history this plot of ground has been seen as a sacred place by many different religions and a place to get near to God. And we have a Jesus who calls us not to go to a specific location, but simply to “come to Me” (Matthew 11:28).

When we came down, we went to the Western Wall where many were praying and touching the wall, trying to get close to God. And we have a Jesus who dwells “in our hears through faith” (Ephesians 3:17). We don’t have to go to a Western Wall to be close to God—we have “Christ in you, the Hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

Next we went underground to see some of the remains of the retaining wall that the Temple once stood on top of. We saw the amazing architecture of Herod the Great, yet we know that Jesus said, “Destroy this Temple in 3 days and I will raise it up. The Jews then said, ‘It has taken 46 years to build this Temple, and will you raise it up in 3 days?’ But He was speaking about the Temple of His body” (John 2:19-21). And we know that Jesus “was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father [that] we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

Next we went to St. Anne’s church and sang “I Love You, Lord.” We have a Father who doesn’t need to be worshipped “on this mountain nor in Jerusalem” (John 4:21), but a Father who is simple seeking “true worshippers [who] will worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23).

We saw the pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath because He is Jehovah Rapha, the LORD our healer who fulfilled “what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, ‘He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.’” (Matthew 8:17).

Our next stop was Bethlehem, the little town where “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:18). We also saw the shepherd’s field where the angel declared the “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Matthew 2:10). Where they sang “Glory to God in the highest” (Matthew 2:14) because our “Immanuel (which means, God with us)” had arrived (Matthew 1:23).

Our last stop was Herodium, Herod’s massive and impressive architectural project made to house his dead body. And we have a Jesus who is “the First and the Last, and the Living One [who] died, and behold [is] alive forevermore and [has] the keys of death and hades” (Revelation 1:17-18). The One of whom “His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:33).

So this was one of our sweet days in Israel. But so much better is our sweet Jesus, our “God with us” (Matthew 1:23), the One who “ will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5), the One who “for the joy set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2), the One “ who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).

Interested in learning about future Deeper Christian Israel Study Tours? Our next trip is scheduled for April 2020 and details/registration will be announced early September. Go to to sign up for details/updates and to be notified first when the trip officially opens up.

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