What can be said about this city that has not been said? It is a cauldron of culture and religion. It holds the secrets of eternity and it draws pilgrims from the world’s three monotheistic faiths like other cities draw fans to a game.
We stood on the Mount of Olives and looked across thousands of tombs, chalky white and baking in the sun, the graves of all three faiths, of those who want to be here for the resurrection. It’s interesting to me as a Christian that Jesus taught that place is irrelevant and that faith is personal. This city is all about place and for centuries people have bled and died because its Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall, and Old City are so sacred to so many.
Here, the Garden at Gethsemane moved me, as I thought about Jesus’s last hours and how those he trusted most betrayed and denied him. And on the Via Dolorosa, the path he took to the crucifixion, I thought about how he made one last plea to his Father to spare him the agony this city held for him.
He was a rebel, a revolutionary, a peacemaker and a man who ultimately made a conscious decision to die when he could have saved himself.
And, what is most remarkable about this man is that all three faiths here agree on his existence. On this, there is no dispute. They treat him as a historical figure who lived and taught across this region before he died here. As a Christian, this corroboration between these faiths that clash so frequently, gives me a lifetime’s worth of questions to ponder.
The Dome of the Rock is one of the most photographed structures in the world
Jews gather at the Western Wall to pray
A member of our group (right) asked a Jewish man how to pray at the Wall
The Garden of Gethsemane today has been beautifully restored and is thought to be the place where Jesus was arrested