A Journey to Israel
The Israel trip was an absolutely fantastic experience. The trip brought the locations of the Bible to life, as well as provided an excellent environment for learning. Even when you set aside the historical significance of Israel, the land itself is impressive. we got to be in rainforests, deserts, multiple seas, mountains, and so many cool Roman and Jewish ruins. Then you realize after a couple of days that you are walking where Jesus walked. These days the stories we hear about Jesus sometimes feel so distant, almost mythological, but being in Israel was an amazing reminder that these were more than just stories. We saw a village in Nazareth that Jesus may have lived in. Seeing stuff like that is such an amazing reminder that Jesus was not some stoic robot, but that he was 100 percent human and 100 percent, God.
He was a man, he laughed, he cried, he played with children, he hung out with friends and family, and something ChristyAnn pointed out that got me thinking, Jesus probably smiled a lot. All of this and more reminded me of the personal nature of the God I worship. That he is not some distant judge, scowling upon me and waiting for me to screw up, but that he came down here to dwell with us, he loved us so much that he gave up the treasures of heaven to live a life of poverty. Israel helped remind me that the God of the Bible is still as present today as 2000 years ago.
The highlight of the trip for me personally was the Garden tomb. The tomb was ironically very lively and welcoming. You are able to walk through this amazing display of nature and a possible sight of the resurrection. That atmosphere felt way more what Jesus would have wanted than some of the other sites we saw, it was symbolic. If God turned this tomb, a sign of death into a beautiful reminder of Christ's sacrifice, I have a lot of hope for what he can do with a sinner like me.