On our way to the airport this morning at the end of our tour, we passed through the Aijalon Valley where Joshua commanded the sun to stand still.
We also passed the hill of Abu Ghosh (see map screenshot), near biblical Kiriath-Jearim, where the Ark of the Covenant rested for three months in the house of Obed-edom until King David brought it up to Jerusalem.
When we visited The Garden Tomb, Chuck told us to remember His death. 700 years before Christ, Isaiah’s prophecy stated, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
While taking communion, I passed several cups down the row. Taking my own cup, I accidentally tipped over the next cup spilling it’s contents. It dawned on me this represents what happened that day 2000 years ago. It was I who spilled Jesus’ blood. It was my transgressions and iniquities that caused Him to be pierced and crushed. But, His punishment brought me peace. By His wounds, I am healed.
Jacob buried his favorite wife, Rachel, on the way to Bethlehem (Genesis 35:19). The town was associated with a corrupt priest who became a mercenary for idolaters (Judges 17:8-9). Then there’s that account of a concubine who, after leaving town, was brutally raped and dismembered (Judges 19:1-30).
Bethlehem had a sordid beginning. But it is immortalized forever as the birthplace of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
God transformed Bethlehem from insignificant to meaningful because Jesus was born there. The same is true of our lives.
“He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. ” (Matthew 28:6-7)
This morning we toured the sobering Holocaust museum, called Yad Vashem.
The Hebrew words Yad Vashem means, “a hand and a name,” an idiom from Isaiah 56:5 that refers to a memorial.
A place of remembrance. How could anyone forget?
Every time I go to the museum, I visit the “Row of Righteous Gentiles.” A row of trees planted in dedication to individuals like Corrie Ten Boom, Oskar Schindler, and many others, honors those Gentiles who risked their lives by sheltering and helping the Jews during a time when few did.