The Tale of Two Tombs

Final Day In Israel–Part 2

I didn’t realize there are two sites that claim to be the very spot where Jesus was buried….and they couldn’t be more different. The first, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, is along the Via Del Rosa. It is filled with icons and paintings and mosaics and religious looking candelabras. At the location of the tomb of Jesus, you find lots of ornate decoration.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

In addition, the church itself is divided into 6 different denominations, who apparently don’t get along very well. In fact, we were told that the ladder in this picture has been up there for two hundred years.

Ladder

No one will move it. Why? Because the group that owns the window section is different than the group that owns the roof section and they can’t get along enough to take it down.

What is up with that? Near the very spot Jesus tore down the barrier between Jew and Gentile, slave and free, men and women, we still have Christian denominations that can’t get along with each other. While this location may very well be the actual spot of Jesus’ burial, I struggled to connect with the aura created around this site.

Later, we visited what is known as the Garden Tomb. What a contrast! A beautiful garden setting, simple, peaceful.. On one end of the Garden is what some believe is Golgotha—which means “place of the skull.” On the side of a hill nearby, you can see what at one time looked like the face of a skull.

Place of the Skull?

Could this hill be the location of Jesus’ crucifixion? When you cross over to the other side, you see the tomb I envision in my mind being the resurrection tomb.

The Garden Tomb?

In the Tomb

John tells us in John 19:41 that “At the place Jesus was crucified, there was a garden and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.” This spot certainly fits that description. While the historical evidence seems to lean to the first spot as being the correct site, my heart hopes it’s the second. Unlike the first spot, this one certainly exuded the reality of a resurrected Savior. Peace, joy, unity among those gathered. Throughout the entire area, various Christian groups were singing praises to Jesus. It was awesome. Either way, the ultimate truth is the same. He is not here. He is risen!

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