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BPEA Ministry Updates

Jul 31, 2016

FOLLOWING JESUS’ STEPS THROUGH JERUSALEM

My girls and I have been walking in the footsteps of Jesus throughout our journey through Israel, but today made a special impact on us.  We spent the morning in the Garden Tomb area, that is believed to be where Jesus was buried, and rose again.  He not only conquered death, but purchased our salvation, healing and victory in every area of our lives. 

We were privileged to be led through the Garden Tomb area by one of the hosts of this special place, a Pastor from Singapore.  What a blessing it was to hear the powerful Gospel message told with the evidence right before our eyes.

The empty tomb!

The Pastor also shared a special experience he had last week.  He hosted a group of Buddhists from Cambodia who were here on a study tour, shared the simple Gospel, and invited them to give their hearts to Jesus.  Thirty of them responded and asked Him to come into their lives!  How amazing that this historical event is still fresh today, and the blood that Jesus shed two thousands years ago has never lost its power!

In the beautiful, quiet Garden overlooking the hill of Golgotha and beside the empty tomb, Meg, Lori and I spent the morning praying for every single partner by name, and laying hands on and praying for every request that was sent in over the past month.  I fully believe that we will hear wonderful reports of miracles and healing as He touches people all over the world.

Bill Prankard prayed for every single partner in the Garden Tomb. All prayer requests of our partners was prayed for here!

After walking back to Christchurch Guest House for lunch, we set out through the Old City to the Zion Gate, where the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest of Jesus’ day, is located.  The lower level of the building was used as a prison, and the Bible tells us this is where Peter and John and other followers of Jesus were taken when they preached boldly after Jesus’ resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, (see Acts 4 & 5). While it is a much more sterile place now, in that day it would have been damp, dark and filled with filth.  The pillars to which the apostles were chained still stand today.

Bill Prankard read Psalm 88 in the Pit.

The disciples were severely beaten and eventually released with the stern warning to never mention the name of Jesus again. Their passion and calling compelled them to continue, and they returned to the Temple to preach Jesus. 

We went to another section of the prison where only the hardest and worst criminals were kept.  Here they were lowered into a pit and left to suffer the indignities of this horrific place.  There is no question that this is where Jesus was kept the night He was arrested, before He would appear before the High Priest in the morning.

The pit has been cleaned and modified to allow visitors to walk down steps and view the inside.  Here we read Psalm 88 which is a prophetic word about Jesus in the pit.  We were so moved as we thought of Him, all alone, all night, knowing what lay ahead. Portions of the Psalm say, “…I have cried out day and night before You….For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to the grave.  I am counted with those who go down to the pit; I am like a man who has no strength, adrift among the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom You remember no more, and who are cut off from Your hand.  You have laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the depths.  Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and You have afflicted me with all Your waves.”

The stone steps outside date back over 2,000 years, and would be the very steps  Jesus climbed as they led Him from Gethsemane to the House of Caiaphas.  Leaving this place of such meaning, we walked outside the Old City walls to the Sheep Gate.  Historians believe it is outside this gate that Steven was taken and stoned. 

The Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed a sick man as He waited for an Angel.

Just inside the Sheep Gate is the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the man who had been sick for 38 years, as he sat waiting for the angel to come and stir the waters. This account is recorded in John 5, which we read as we viewed the remains, then spent a moment in prayer and thanksgiving for Jesus’ healing power.

Jesus walked on this paved walkway in Pontius Pilate's Palace.

We continued down the street, deeper into the city, to what was Pontius Pilate’s Palace.  As we descended to the lower level, we stood on the actual pavement Jesus would have walked on.  In Pilate's courtyard there are markings in the pavement, made by the Roman soldiers when they played games.  One section that still bears the markings was called the Game of Kings. It is very sobering to remember that it was on this very spot that the soldiers tortured, taunted, and humiliated Jesus, as they placed a robe and crown of thorns on Him, and to know He was willing to bear it all for us.

Bill, Meg and Lori in Jerusalem!

It was a very long walk from here to our guesthouse just inside the Jaffa Gate, but as we made the trek, we reflected on all we had experienced, knowing we were literally walking where Jesus walked.  I love this nation, and this city, Jeru-salem (the City of Peace), even as we acknowledge the presence of so many soldiers and police everywhere, reminding us that at this time there is no peace.    I fell so privileged to spend time here once again.

We will have another early bedtime, as we prepare for tomorrow’s visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial and museum – a haunting reminder why there must be the nation of Israel. 

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