Walking where Jesus walked

My wife and I have just returned from a wonderful trip to Egypt, Jordan and Israel.  I am still thinking about what I have seen.

On the surface, the world has changed enormously since Jesus walked in Judea, Samaria and Galilee.  Cars have replaced donkeys and camels.  We stayed in hotels where we could watch events on television taking place thousands of miles away.

In modern day Israel, it is sometimes hard to look past the changes imposed on the people and landscape by successive conquerors and civilizations.

No one knows exactly where Jesus was crucified and buried; but the most likely spot is now crowned by a large, dark, stone church filled with precious icons and silver vessels.  It is difficult to imagine Jesus writhing on a cross slotted into the stone at this place.

And yet Jesus was here.  He did walk on the old Roman road discovered a few years ago under the Temple Mount.  He did sleep in a small stone house in Capernaum near a modern-day church building.  He sat in a boat on the Sea of Galilee, near where we cruised a few days ago.

As I try to sort out my own thoughts, I realize that Jesus was a man like us.  He was a carpenter’s son.  He suffered even more than we have suffered.  He was joyful.  He loved.

In a sense, very little has changed in 2000 years.  The issues we face – the human, every-day issues – are much the same as those faced by Jesus and his disciples.

In Jesus’ day, the big political issue was what to do with the Romans.  Today, it is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But Jesus did not come to overthrow the Romans and create a new political dynasty.  He came to deal with you and me – to bring us home to God.

That is still true today.  Jesus speaks to our hearts as strongly now as he did then.  Civilizations come and go, but Jesus’ words are for the ages.

That is one thing I take away from our trip of a lifetime.

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