DAY NINE OVERVIEW
• Written by Chelsey Hudson •
Today is the Day the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it!
How can it be that today marks the last day of our study tour of Israel? It seems as if it was only yesterday that I first beheld the beauty of God’s Promised Land. However, the profound truths that today’s journey revealed has only heightened my hungering heart!
Even though this day will hold many “lasts” for us as a group, I can’t help but give thanks for the sweet fellowship resulting in much laughter that was sure to follow after peeking over and evaluating Sarina’s selection of food, haha. On our way to our first destination (the Mount of Olives) we happened to drive by the house of Horatio G. Spafford (the writer of the famous well-known hymn “It is well with my soul”)—to my surprise, I didn’t realize that He was an impactful missionary here in Israel!
The moment I stepped off the bus I knew that this was going to be the pinical moment, that everything I have been learning over the last few weeks would lead directly to Jesus! My expectant heart basked in awe at the thought that Jesus traveled this very hillside overlooking the busyness of Jerusalem as He traveled to and from Bethany going up to Jerusalem.
When we came near the place where the steep winding roads go down the Mount of Olives, I couldn’t help but imagine what it would’ve been like to personally witness Jesus riding a young donkey with the whole crowd joyfully praising God in loud voices for all the miracles they have seen (Luke 19:37).
We then ventured into the Garden of Gethsemane—and to be completely honest, if I had to pick one the biggest highlight on this trip it would be our prayer time in these beautiful gardens overlooking the city of Jerusalem. There is just something so profound about reading Luke 18-22 in the place that Jesus wept and prayed on my (our) behalf. I didn’t want the moment to end but the morning had only just begun.
Nathan challenged the group to ponder and reflect upon the beautiful analogy of Jesus being the olive branch shoot. Several olive trees date back to the time of Jesus … because of the root structure underneath. For example: if the main limb breaks off the roots don’t die, they only produce more shoots for a new stem. And so should our lives be a reflection of Jesus being our root system because the old has gone but the new life only thrives!
We also had the opportunity to walk down the Via Dolorosa (aka the way of suffering)—the route in the Old City of Jerusalem which is believed to be the path that Jesus waked on the way to His crucifixion. This then led us to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. According to the New Testament, Jesus was crucified at Golgotha, “the place of the skull” (Matt. 27:33-35; Mark 15:22-25; John 19:17-24). There is a great debate if Jesus’ tomb truly is in the location of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre or the Garden Tomb. However, Owen (our tour guide at the site of the Garden Tomb) stated it so well, when He said “Jesus’ tomb could be there or here, the only thing that matters is that He currently dwells within us.” The time at the Garden Tomb was very special for a number of reasons—we not only went into the tomb but afterwards Nathan lead us into a time of Thanksgiving (aka: Eucharist) … we even used authentic olive wood cups! Beholding the beauty of our Creator, we worshiped in several songs of praise: “Amazing Grace,” “We Exalt Thee,” and “It is Well With My soul”.
Our last “site” of Jerusalem happened to be the delights of a delicious meal overlooking the city of Jerusalem during dusk. What a perspective!
Even though this journey to Israel is coming to an end, I’m realizing that our journeys will only continue…
I want to personally thank those who have surrounded us with fervent prayers throughout this study tour. God’s favor and hedge of protection was evident at every site and reflected upon each of our lives.
To those who have a hunger and a prompting to join the next Deeper Christian Study Tour in Israel, I highly recommend that you take the next steps of faith with expectancy because Our Heavenly Father loves to bless those who diligently seek Him.
The thought that constantly comes to mind as I reflect and ponder all that I have learned and personally witnessed continues to point me back to the statement of Daniel found in chapter 2; “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. In as much as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this.”
Shalom Oh Israel! Until we meet again!
Hear O Israel:
The Lord is Our God
The Lord alone!
Love the Lord your God.
With all your heart.
And with all your soul.
And with all your might.
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 deeperChristian.com/Israel to sign up for details/updates and to be notified first when the trip officially opens up.