Jerusalem is the crowning jewel on the earth. The thought of the layers of history is astounding.
There are 850,000 people in Jerusalem in an area of 48 square miles. The walled in area of Old Jerusalem is a little more than a third of a square mile and, but thousands of tourists from every religion and many countries pack its walls daily, has fewer residents of course.
Jerusalem is nestled in the middle of rivers and sands and mountains. It is close to at the eastern tip of the Mediterranian. Well placed, it is God's chosen city. The prime location is evident when I look at my globe.
As we entered Jerusalem on the bus, our hearts filled, as we sang "Jerusalem, Jerusalem. Hark how the angels sing. Hosanna in the highest. Hosanna to our king." It was a moment we had been waiting for.
It was where Jesus spent those days that were life changing for him and all of us.
Over thousands of years, the upheaval of many wars, which we read about in the Old Testament and beyond, made it what it is.
It is where the glorified Jesus will stand as king in glorious majesty in the end. Every knee will bow.
The temple has been "up for grabs" over the centuries. It has been torn down by armies
and rebuilt by various religious sects. The history is fascinating and beyond description. You can see the stones. You can see the honor that was given it.
A Muslim temple with a gold dome stands on the site now. I wish I could have seen it when Solomon built it thousands of years ago. (it was destroyed) Why the expense and fancy trimmings? It was where the holy of holies was. It was the altar that the priests went to offer up sacrifices. It was the place of God's presence and it was holy (to say the least). The Muslim temple? It is a beautiful structure. The holy of holies? The place is still there but the presence of God has moved into the hearts of Christians, those who believe! I am dumbfounded when I think of that! I was moved to write a poem about it:
The holy of holies?
Only the place.
Muslims worship there.
The very spot that the heavy curtain was ripped
Is that place still holy?
The whole world is holy!
Wholly made and cherished by God.
God in every part of creation
Every part coming together
Piece by piece
Bowing down one by one
To the King of Kings
A working body.
The flame of the candle
His gracious presence
With constant favor
We anticipate God's next move
Audacious hope flows.
We saw the place where Jesus wept over Jerusalem:
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing." Matthew 23:37
"Do you see all these things?" he asked. "Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." Matthew 24:2
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Song we listened to on the bus. Many of us joined in the song.