Somber. Reflective. Extraordinary. That was the sixth day of our trip.
Day Six Notes:
I do not have many pictures to share from inside the museum (they weren’t allowed inside). I can tell you it was a heart-wrenching experience. The museum is intricately designed and filled with exhibits containing information from before, during and after the war. The scariest part of the entire museum is the beginning as they describe Hitler’s rise to power. I have so much to share about this. The bottom line for German Jews in the 1930s was this – they were far more German than Jewish. So when the evil their faith should have warned them about started to rise, they lacked the discernment to see it. What a powerful lesson for American Christians today. Before I’m ever an American, I’m a Christian and I’m committed to doing life on HIS terms, not my culture’s.
After walking through the many corridors of this modern museum we step outside and see the “Way of the Righteous” where trees are planted in honor of those who hid the Jews during the Holocaust.
Nearby is the Children’s Memorial which is a very dark and solemn room decorated with very strategic modern lighting. Over the sound system, every name and city of residence of the 1.5 million children who died are recited in English and Hebrew. The name list recycles every five days. It is hard to stay in this setting for long. The evil that took these lives is unimaginable.
Shrine of the Book:
We head over to another important museum. The Shrine of the Book houses ancient artifacts of Scripture from the Dead Sea Scrolls and others. The importance of the scriptures to the Jews cannot be overstated. They are who they are because of “the Book” and this hall certainly makes this crystal clear. No pictures were allowed inside but the amount of care and honor the Jewish people have put into ensuring the scriptures are preserved and transmitted for future generations is astounding. We Christians owe them a HUGE debt of gratitude. Scripture calls on us to live generously toward them because of this precious gift: Romans 15:27 (ESV) For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.
Garden of Gethsemane:
It’s time to refocus on Jesus and His passion. The greatest gift God gives us through the Jewish nation is His only begotten Son. I’ve been waiting to visit these sites for a very very long time. The garden is well maintained. It sits to the east of the City with the Mount of Olives on the opposite side from the Temple. Some of the olive trees in this garden may date back to Solomon’s time. The guide tells us that no matter what happens to the trunk of the tree, they never fail to produce leaves in season.
Our guide reminds me of something I have never put together from the scriptures. It is in the GARDEN of Gethsemane where the FIRST drops of Jesus’ blood are shed. That means HE decided when it would be shed, not the Romans. That means He gave us His blood WILLINGLY. Jesus said, “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” John 10:18 (NLT). Here’s what this garden means for you, Christian. Jesus obeyed in THIS Garden to undo our great-parents’ failure in the original garden. Through Him, and because of His willful decision in this location we are welcomed back into the presence of God. Fittingly, the “Church of All Nations” sits right next to this hallowed ground. The invitation is available and the way is made possible for all.
On a day I am reminded of all the hate and evil possible in the human heart, I come to this garden to experience the Heart of God. He is NOT willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). He underwrites that desire in the blood of His Son. Praise be to God!
One more day to share with you… I pray you will come back. It’s kind of important…