Jerusalem Pictures Part 2: Golgotha, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre




Welcome back to the Jerusalem tour. I can’t wait to take you to Calvary, also known as Golgotha!

Where did we leave off? Ah yes, walking through Old Jerusalem.

strolling through the Jewish Quarter of Old Jerusalem

outside view of Old Jerusalem. Everywhere you go there’s a mosque (that tall tower where they shout out prayers). This particular one was not in use, but many of them are.

This view is looking out, over the ruins of the old wall from Solomon’s times.

Imagine our surprise, going through the narrow Zion gate, to see a couple of cars driving through it!

It’s all very close together.

In Part 1, we saw the Mount of Olives and entered Old Jerusalem. The first thing we saw there was the Upper Room and David’s Tomb.  Let’s stroll on over to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre now. This church sits on top of the site where Jesus was crucified.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

This one church houses the site of the crucifixion, Golgotha (the rock shaped like a skull), the tomb of Jesus, the stone where they washed the body of Jesus, among other relics and stories and art work centered around the crucifixion.

There are also several active church denominations that have their services at The Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

You may wonder how they know this is the place or how accurate this could actually be. Alan and I certainly did.

…And the answer it is that it appears to be surprisingly well backed by archaeological evidence.

How? For one, they began constructing this place in 326 AD.That’s less than 300 years after the fact.

Various other sites have been considered over the years. However, according to my Crossway study Bible info-graphic on page 2066 and 2067, excavations were conducted below the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the 1960s.

Do you know what they found when they dug?

They found “an isolated mass of rock in the middle of an extensive quarry,” as well as rock-cut tombs from the first century, AD. That’s good news.

Where was Jesus crucified? On a rock called Golgotha, meaning place of the skull.

To make it even more interesting, did you know that old Jewish tradition and early historians say that the skull of Adam (as in THE Adam, the first man) is preserved in this hill, indicating that it wasn’t simply a rock that looked like a skull, but also the place where the skull of an important ancestor of mankind is buried. (Crossway Bible, 2001)

Okay, so that last part may be more of a legend, who knows, but I loved that the archaeological evidence DOES indicate that Golgotha is indeed where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre sits.

There is another site outside Jerusalem that claims to be the tomb of Jesus, but archaeological research proved that particular tomb to be too ancient to have been a new tomb at the time of Jesus’s crucifixion.

 

Repairs are needed, but there are so many different groups that use this building that they cannot agree on how to make the repairs, so nothing changes.

See the ladder to the window above the right (sealed off) archway? That’s where the Armenians had to get into the church many years ago. No one needs the ladder now, but these groups cannot even agree on whether or not to move the ladder.

This building, which is centric to all of Christianity, as it marks the site where Jesus died for mankind, is the perfect example of the problem with the Church today.

We should all be one church, not arguing over menial, unimportant details, but instead we are divided. And what happens to a house divided against itself? Well, it cannot stand.

That wasn’t just Abraham Lincoln that said that. He was quoting Jesus. (Mark 3:25)

bells of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

This is the place!!! This is the site where Jesus died for ALL mankind.

As divided as we are, God can still use us, but how much greater our ministry would be if we were united!! United by Christ!

 

Jerusalem Pictures Part 2: Golgotha, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

This display marks THE spot where the crucifixion took place. Because the scene (in the photo above) looks drastically different than what it did way back in the first century, A.D., it’s hard to really feel like you are there, even when you are there.

There were people who were falling all over themselves, trying to touch the rock in this spot. But with the crowds, being indoors, and the noise, and so much competing for my eyes’ attention, it was hard to focus.

It is worth visiting. Only know that it’s very tourist-y.

But then, how could it not be? People all over the world have experienced major heart and life changes from the gospel message. God loves you where you are. Jesus died to pay the price for all of our sins. Faith. Hope. Love. We need only believe. Naturally, thousands of people a day are going to visit this place where it happened.

I’m actually surprised there aren’t MORE people there.

I think that’s largely because we have this misconception that it’s not safe in Jerusalem, but I can assure you, I felt perfectly safe.

stairway up to Calvary

steep stairs

See the glass bottom to the left? That is protecting THE spot of the crucifixion.

Alan took the photo above. I actually didn’t even see that there was rock under the glass like that until I saw these pictures.

Look at the bottom, at the people kneeling. They are kneeling over the washing stone, where they washed the body of Jesus.

I did take a moment to rub the stone. The actual stone is under a stone that they put on top of it to preserve it, but still!

 

I always feel like art work tells the story better than anything else.

 

Me, near the washing stone. I don’t know how it happened that everyone else is blurry but me, but it had a neat effect.

inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

That big cube-like structure with the turret at the top marks the spot of the tomb of Jesus. He is not in the tomb. He is risen.

 

the dome ceiling

One of the most exciting parts—Golgotha!!! This is the actual rock of the skull!!! Many people in early years took chunks home as souvenirs, so now it sits behind glass. I got chills looking at this.

Golgotha, from a distance

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

19Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS             John 19:16-19

In the square, you see splits in the rocks.

The Bible says that when Jesus gave up his spirit, there was a great earthquake. Here you can see damage from that earthquake.

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

 

54When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”                           Matthew 27:50-54

 

 

the washing stone

memorial of the tomb

In a chapel off to the side, we found these sculptures. I thought they were a powerful telling of the story.

Today the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is run by Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Armenians, and Ethiopians, perhaps even more denominations than that, but do you know who holds the keys? This man and his family.

The key to Christianity’s most holy site actually belongs to a Muslim family.

They open the doors each morning to let the Christians in. Isn’t this fascinating?

Each year giant candles are lit in honor of the resurrection at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, on Easter Sunday. One year, while the people were gathered to light the candles and celebrate the resurrection, this column, made completely of marble, spontaneously burst into flames, at the bottom here.

So many mixed emotions in the Holy Land.

1.) I am in awe to be standing where Jesus and his disciples, and Mary, and David stood.

2.) I am baffled at our lack of unity.

In the book of John, chapter 17, Jesus prayed:

20“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

 

Previous Israel Posts in this series:

No, I couldn’t possibly go to Israel next week.

Mount of Olives

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This Christmas: 1st Year at Home, 1st Non Disaster Story

I guess you know which stocking is mine.

This might have been the easiest Christmas in 14 years of April and Alan family Christmases. We only had to travel two hours, and we woke up on Christmas morning IN OUR OWN HOUSE. Have you ever??? I mean, we had almost never!! Do you do this? Do other people do this every year??  It was so nice!

I mean have you read my other Christmas stories???

Our Nightmare Before Christmas

The Funeral, Christmas Trip

New Years in San Francisco

Well, I’m happy to tell you this is NOT one of those stories. We did go and see our families, but we were able to do all of that and still be at our own house on Christmas morning.

Around 7 or so a.m., we heard Boy #1 begin talking to Boy #2. They simply chatted calmly in bed. Some of the boys woke up the other boys. I don’t remember who got up first, but a miracle happened…..

No one came and jumped on us…..

They gathered themselves in the living room, just the four of them in the living room to patiently wait for their parents to get up.

Whaaa???? We were so pleased with all this that we didn’t make them wait. We went ahead and joined them.

My heart brimmed over with awe at the fact that they were all sitting in the living room, waiting patiently.

I love watching my children open their presents. Christmas is a whole other level of special for children. When is it that we lose that? Let’s get that back.

Caleb, opening a present they WEREN’T expecting: Lego Dimensions

Yes, he’s actually CLAPPING. He’s so excited. There were a few To: Caleb and Daniel presents this year. They may look ages apart, but it’s actually only a 3 year gap. Some kids are tall. Some kids are shorter.

SO HAPPY

Be sure to see the 50 second JD video on Facebook, and share in the excitement.

We all went to church together. It was nice, though nothing topped the Christmas Eve service.

Christmas Eve service

There was something about the meaning in lighting these candles and taking communion with so many fellow believers that made Christmas more real to me this year. We sang Silent Night, and I wanted this moment to never end.

Too quickly, we were all headed back to our houses when so often I just want to curl up at the altar and soak it all in…

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”       Luke 2:10-12

…But it was back to Christmas as usual, and I can’t help but wonder. Are we entering a new phase of our lives?  There simply isn’t a BABY anymore. JD is 3 1/2 now. No one is a baby. Life is c-a-l-m-i-n-g down. No one wore a diaper, no one carried a sippy cup, and no one got out of their seat. No one even colored on himself.

Wow.

I think I might cry!

No one was sick this Christmas either. JD caught a cold, accompanied by a very pink eye, but even that ended in two days.

OH, and guess what! Once Christmas day was over, Alan took my minivan to the shop, and I now have a clean minivan, with a heater that heats, and a functioning defroster! Somebody get this man a trophy!!

I feel like we just had the perfect Christmas. I can safely say that because Christmas is fully over. Saying Christmas was perfect can’t possibly jinx it now.

Of course, I did find one baby to hold.

Ah, sparkling pretty lights. I may never take my Christmas tree down. Plus, I’m hoping Alan will do it for me. Hmmm…I wonder if Alan is hoping that I will do it. I seriously don’t even want it taken down. Let’s just leave it up until next Christmas!

Hallelujah! And may we never forget what it’s all about. This is an incredible excerpt from the Passion of the Christ. You do have to click the link to YouTube to watch, but it’s so worth it:

 

Wishing you all a blessed 2017! May your kids behave. May your rain be snow, and may all your prayers be answered.

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”        Luke 2:13-14

The 4 Month Moving Update: Peanut Festival, Trampoline Time, and Turnips

the morning after Black Friday funnies

John David is a multi-talented child. He can unroll a TP roll, pee, and weigh himself all at once.

The Morning After…..Black Friday

I have a Black Friday hangover today. Not the kind you get from alcohol. The kind you get from spending one day driving and eating and the next day shopping too much and driving.

I slept until 8am this morning because I literally could not wake up before that. Beat. I am so beat.

We went shopping on Friday and spent like crazy. I actually told my mom–as in I actually SAID, “It’s okay, though. This is Black Friday, so the money we spend today is like not real money.”

I was sort of kidding, but not really. Presents have to be purchased, right?

But it is real money. Oh, but it is.

We had a beautiful Thanksgiving, y’all. Beautiful. We forced all of our children to wear shirts with collars, and then we forgot to even take pictures. (It’s like we’re just being mean on purpose. *evil laugh*)

Collared shirts aside, everyone had a wonderful time. The food was top-notch too. We got to spend Thanksgiving with my family. That was extra important to me this year because it’s been a tough year for them. We all went over to my parents’ new house and looked around. The flooring is in. The walls are almost completely painted. The landscaping is even done. All they are lacking is a few appliances and pantry shelves. So exciting!!!!

We have no idea what day they will get to move in. That depends on insurance and inspections and such, so we wait. I’m leaving my suitcase packed, on alert to go help move!!!

The Moving Update: 4 Month Mark

We’re adjusting. I tried to take on too many blog projects but couldn’t juggle them all. As it turns out, being a stay at home mom is still a full-time job. Therefore, I’m keeping my blog expectations low for a little longer. However, I am enjoying writing for Monterey Premier on the side. I’m lucky to get one article turned in per week, but every little bit helps. That’s been a blessing.

Alan took over laundry duty, which may be the most exciting this that has ever happened to me. He has always helped with laundry. Don’t get me wrong there, but now he is in charge of laundry. Fully!

Let’s pause to throw a party and whoop and holler with delight!!!!!

The boys are doing well. They still like their new school. Basketball season has begun for Joshua, but it’s a middle school team, so I’m not feeling too hot about that. I’d rather have him on a 5th grade team, but we’ll see how it goes.

Daniel is taking wrestling lessons, believe it or not.

We’ve all been up to a little bit of adventuring mischief. Here are a few photos of the fun, for those of you who do not follow us on Instagram:

The Morning After......Black Friday

Providence Canyon State Park, Georgia

The Morning After......Black Friday

Fall in Georgia

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Daniel lost a tooth. This was a BIG DEAL, but he insisted on keeping it in his pocket, so then he literally lost the tooth. We had to write the tooth fairy a note. Daniel said he doesn’t believe in the tooth fairy because his brother told him that she’s not real, but it was still important to Dan to leave a note……So I guess he really does still sort of believe.

Don’t worry. He did indeed get a dollar, a quarter, and a penny.

On a completely unrelated note, look what I found under my desk:

 

img_4468

John David and his black marker strike again.

 

The Morning After......Black Friday

Fun times with Mom

JD and I spent HOURS of November on our trampoline. And no, it did not result in any weight loss. Once your hips swell up with arthritis, I actually have no idea how to shrink that. Thoughts, suggestions, anyone???

I’ve had to squash my vanity and just exercise for the fun of it.

img_4454

This face of pure joy. I need to hang this picture everywhere.

 

The Morning After......Black Friday

These were such a life saver for us. Thank you notes that you just fill in the blanks. Best parenting hack ever.

Want some? My friend has an Etsy shop where you can score your own. See more here: lilmissgratitude.com.

img_4439

This Snoopy that I bought Daniel for Christmas last year is still making us smile this year, especially JD.

The Morning After......Black Friday

I got these awesome turnips WITH roots from my brother. I thought I could substitute bacon for pork chops and it would still be as good. Wrong. Pork chop required for prime yummy-ness.

The Morning After......Black Friday

Turnip greens with roots: a delightful Southern treat

 

The Morning After......Black Friday

Yard sale-ing!!! I have literally saved about $1,000 by yard sale shopping this fall, and I have had so much fun in the process. These sunglasses were $1.00! Say what you want. I super-like them.

The Morning After......Black Friday

Why I love Big Lots

The Morning After......Black Friday

I literally spent one day rolling in fall leaves on the trampoline with J.D. It was glorious…..until the hay fever result came rolling in that night. Ha! Still worth it!

The Morning After......Black Friday

Reveling in the fall leaves (and the pollen—achoo!)

The Morning After......Black Friday

We went to the Peanut Festival, just the two of us!

We ate funnel cake, we rode 4 rides, and then we got so nauseous we gave the rest of our tickets away to some kids and left. Haha! So much fun though!

The Morning After......Black Friday

My favorite ride as a kid. It was fun, but this is the ride that did us in.

The Morning After......Black Friday

My other favorite ride: The Swings!

The Morning After......Black Friday

I was so pumped to share my childhood stompin’ grounds with Alan. We’ve been married 14 years, and this was the FIRST time he’d ever gotten to go to the Peanut Festival.

The Morning After......Black Friday

Cotton and mums

4 month moving update

John David got tired of the 6 pumpkins on our porch, so he tossed ALL of them into this bush.

4 month moving update

I love Caleb’s drawing so much I can’t stop sharing them.

4 month moving update

Another new Lula Roe top!

4 month moving update

Alan’s seriously creepy Halloween costume

4 month moving update

And last but not least, I found 20 DOLLARS in my jeans from last year. Wahoo!!! What should I buy first!!???

 

“Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”   –Isaiah 46:4

 

Come back on Cyber Monday!!!!!!! I have a giveaway planned!!!!!!!

 

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