NOTE: A special thanks to Kurt for his thoughts on visiting the Holy Land.
I just returned from 7 days in the Holy Land.
Of course, it was a remarkable experience, and I am glad I had the opportunity at this point in my life.
I highly recommend this type of trip to anyone who has the opportunity.
I’d like to share with you the biggest lesson I learned by visiting these sites.
When we label specific sites or locations as “holy” or “sacred,” we might be setting an unnecessary expectation for these locations.
I found myself approaching these sites as if there was a power that has been infused into the rocks, trees, and air that are found there.
Many times, what I found is that they are simply rocks, trees, and air that offered me nothing.
I had the opportunity to learn from these sites, but they had zero power to change me.
The Garden of Gethsemane was a very pretty location, so it was easy to take a moment of quiet and peace as I stood there.
However, at the end of the day, it was just a religious park with olive trees.
As I stood at the place where many think Christ could have been crucified, I saw it was now nothing but a bus station.
As I marveled at the murals painted in each chapel of the Church of the Transfiguration, I still realized it was simply a church.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
I highly recommend everyone take the opportunity to visit because it is one of the most dynamic museum experiences I have ever witnessed and taught me more about the life of our Savior.
However, the main lesson I took away is that it is not required for us to visit these locations in order to experience Jesus and His redeeming power.
Yes, I stood in the sacredness of the Garden of Gethsemane and felt the Spirit whisper to me, “Yes, He suffered for you.”
But it is the same message I feel as I kneel in my living room: “Yes, He suffered for you.”
I want to be a witness that the power of salvation does not reside in His hometown of Nazareth.
The rocks do not glow at the Garden Tomb and offer resurrection.
What makes this power of redemption real can only be found in Him, Jesus Christ.
Isn’t it remarkable that Jesus can be found not only in places we call sacred but also in trials we want to damn to hell?
He truly is omnipresent, and I am glad I was able to return home and find He still reaches for my heart here, on the other side of the world.