We started the day @ the Holocaust Museum which was so saddening to see the horrible things that were done to people. One fact to share with you. The population of Jews in Israel today is 6 million people, this is the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust. As we walked through this memorial, the joyous thing to see was the way God worked through people. Many even sacrificed their own life so that others might live. (I was not allowed to take pictures)
The second site was probably a good candidate for the highlight of the day. We visited Caiaphas' house, who was the high priest. Jesus spoke out about the way in which they were using their work in the name of God to abuse widows and poor so that they could get richer. We saw several houses today from the religious leaders in that day and they were mansions. The Gospels record that Jesus confronted and condemned them, which is why they decided to get rid of their little problem.
Arrested in Gethsemane Jesus is then led to Caiaphas' house. Until today I never really knew how far of a distance this was. In the picture to the left my head is under the Garden of Gethsemane, where I'm standing is an overlook at Caiaphas' house. As I stood there I could only imagine the things that were done to Jesus while he was led away.
I also wondered what went through Jesus' head. My best guess is that He did a lot of praying. Tony Merida showed us today that Jesus' ministry was marked by constant prayer with the Father.
I walked down the exact same stairs that Jesus walked up to enter the part of the house where He was mocked and beaten.
Caiaphas' house also had a dungeon where Jesus was held that night. This was a deep hole in the rock, like a cistern. Jesus would have just been thrown into this place after he had been beaten to await the time when the religious leaders would take him to Pilate.
I also saw the room where Jesus was flogged that night. Paul and John where also possibly held in this area, or at least one like it, in Acts 4. The next day they powerfully proclaim: "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Finally, today I got a chance to stand in a very special place. The location where the upper room was located is now a church (go figure). But below are still the first century walls of a synagogue which is where the disciples worshiped after the Resurrection. Around this place is also believed to be the place where Peter preached on the day of Pentecost in Acts 3:14-41. The stones in the picture below were there when the church started about 2,000 years ago.
Everyone of our churches today are a continuation of these men and women that fearless proclaimed the message of the risen Savior, Jesus Christ. The early church leaders took the Gospel to the ends of the earth no matter the cost, hopefully we, the church today, will do the same in 2009. May all the nations praise God! (Ps. 67)