Today’s Reading: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today and forever.” -Hebrews 13:8
Over 60 people from The Point took a trip to Israel last month and my family was fortunate enough to be a part of it. This trip did many things for my faith, but the single greatest was how it opened my eyes that the land we read about in the Bible was not a fantasy or mythological Narnia but is a legit place. My eyes were opened that the Bible shows us the past, impacts my faith today and taught me what’s going to happen tomorrow.
Yesterday: I’ve read the Bible since I was in preschool, but I always thought of it as a story and not a real, physical place. In Israel, I got to stand next to a tree in the Garden of Gethsemane that was older than our country. It’s amazing to walk the path that Jesus used on the way to be crucified and think about the markets all around and people in the street watching. This was not how I pictured it or saw it in Veggie Tales cartoons as a kid. In Cesarea, standing where Paul was imprisoned and defended himself and seeing the surroundings taught me that Paul probably heard chariot races happening above his prison cell and this made the story come to life. The trip to Israel was like time traveling through the Bible and it opened my eyes to see the reality of the Word of God.
Today: My eyes were opened to God’s love for me and my love for Him. One of my favorite parts of the trip was being baptized by Pastor Gabe in the Jordan River. Jesus got baptized in this very same place and it renewed my faith to have that experience. While the land is old, we worshiped and took communion the same way we do in Student Life and at the Point. One night, a couple dozen of us went out exploring the streets of Jerusalem. We came across a group of Korean tourists that were singing “How Great Thou Art” in their own language. We started singing the chorus in English while they continued in Korean. There were two languages singing the same hymn in a land neither one of us lived in. We stood together praising God. Being in the Holy Land showed me that being a Christian and worshiping Jesus looks the same everywhere you go.
Tomorrow: We often dream of what the future will look like. In Israel, it seemed more realistic when we stood where the book of Revelation tells us the gathering of armies for a battle during the end of times will happen. We saw the sealed Eastern Gate of Jerusalem’s old city wall and read about Jesus making his triumphal entry after he walks from the Mount of Olives. It opened my eyes to see the future and understand that the end of times is real, and we need to be prepared.
Reflection: Think about your own faith. Many, many prophecies in the Bible have already been fulfilled. The things archeologist have found in Israel provide strength and evidence instead of just telling us to have faith. This gives us reason to have faith today and trust in tomorrow
Prayer: God, thank you for showing us evidence of your existence. Help us to love and worship you no matter where we are. Please let us trust you with whatever tomorrow holds.