As I reflected there in the Garden of Gethsemane, at the foot of Mount Olives, I realized that Jesus had sat there too under those Olive trees in anguish, intensely praying as he waited to be be betrayed by one of his friends.
In his last moments, in agony, before His Crucifixion, He prayed for physical and emotional strength for his inevitable journey to the cross. This past fall we had the privilege of visiting the city of Jerusalem. The time was too short, but we had a small glimpse into the life of Jesus. Jerusalem is known as the birthplace for Christianity and it is also known as the 'center of the world' for many religions. It is Jesus Resurrection which is the core of Christianity. Without this, the Christian faith would have no foundation.
Can you catch up with me and feel the amazing transformation as we walk through the narrow pathways of the Via Dolorosa, also known as the Way of Sorrow? This is the pathway that Jesus walked that led him to his fateful journey to the Crucifixion. There are 14 stations known as the stations of the Cross. Along this journey you will be reminded where Jesus falls for the first time, where he meets his Mother Mary, where he takes up his Cross, and he falls again and again. As one continues to walk through the narrow walk ways and courtyards one will reach the pathway to the Holy Sepulchre where one can witness his crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
It was here in this Holy place where I heard a group of people singing, "Fairest Lord Jesus" I felt blessed as we sang along in harmony, the old favorite hymn that claims that 'Jesus is Ruler of all Nations'.
At times I was aggravated as our tour guide rushed us along. Throngs of people were pushing and shoving themselves so that they could touch and feel the elements. Many times I felt that I could not sit long enough at each station reflecting on what Jesus had experienced.
Then I saw a woman draped over the slate that Jesus was laid upon in the tomb and I watched her weep and was overcome with emotion myself. And there it was that I realized many people from many faiths and nationalities were coming to Jerusalem to ponder and reflect upon their own spiritual pilgrimage. One cannot grasp it all, but what one can grasp, is that without the Resurrection, our Christian faith would be empty and the story of Jesus would have no relevance.
Here it is, Sunday, the day he was resurrected from the tomb. "He Arose". He did that for you and me. Do you believe that he arose? Can you imagine taking a morning stroll out to the tomb and finding the stone rolled away and two angels saying to you,
"He is not here, but he is risen." Luke 24:6
One does not need to go to Jerusalem to have this experience. John 3:16 states, For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The first half of this verse is all about God and who he is and the latter half is about you and me. That's what the Gospel is all about and that's exactly why God sent his son Jesus to pave the way for mankind to have eternal life with him. God has left it up to us. He's given us the basics and now we have been given a choice.
John 14:6. "I am the way, the truth and the Life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me."
Today Jesus still remains the central figure of the human race. Why do you think this one man could have such an effect on society? Even though he was crucified on the cross, he still arose after three days. Which other religious leaders have died and been resurrected? And it was his disciples that testified these events and continued preaching the gospel. I hope that you can take some time to search and truly reflect the authenticity of who Jesus Christ is and recognize that He can be in your life today.
He is Risen Indeed!