It was a beautiful, sunny day; one of the first days of spring. A man was in one of the raised flower beds on his knees pulling weeds. I noticed the dirt was exposed and only flowers, trees, and bushes grew there.
Joseph of Arimathea had a beautiful garden. We wandered through, working our way downhill to the tomb.
Isaiah 53:9, “His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in his death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.”New American Standard Bible, May 21, 2022
(Jesus was crucified between two criminals. Yet, he was buried in a rich man’s grave. Joseph of Arimathea gave him his own grave, see Matthew 27:57-60.)
There was a grape press facing the tomb. Just as the juice is pressed out of the grapes, so was Jesus’ blood pressed out of his body. Wine comes from the juice; life is in the blood.
The original round stone and a replica were destroyed in two different wars. The second replica was resting in a garden bed to protect it.
There was a group ahead of us. We enjoyed the garden as we waited.
Only a couple people could enter the tomb at a time. There were 2 spaces carved out. Joseph made room for his wife! It looked like a pillow was carved out of the rock.
(I felt like I was visiting a hotel with a sign that said, “Jesus slept here.” Why wasn’t I in awe? God raised Jesus from the dead in this place.)
But God and Jesus left the space two thousand years ago. I thought I would feel something like I did at the “Wailing Wall.”
The Wailing Wall was segregated. We walked down the women’s side. I waited for a space to open. When the Jews leave the “Wailing Wall” they walk backward for several steps. It was as if they didn’t want to leave the place where they felt the closest to God.
Some of our group had requests written on paper. They tried shoving them in the crevices.
(“What would I request? A husband for my daughter? No, I prayed that prayer when she was a tiny girl. We are just waiting for the answer. I think I will just touch the wall.”)
I stretched out my right hand and it felt like a magnet pulled it forward. You could feel the prayers of God’s people. They shimmered like heat waves and the invisible cloud was a foot thick. It wasn’t something you could see but it was something you could feel.
God spoke to my heart, “Pray for the Jews!”
I did and I continue to do so.
(The voice of God sounds like your conscience. You hear it clearly but no one else does.)
It was a somber week. My friend laid her dad to rest today. Yesterday, my thoughts kept returning to my Dad who served in the Korean War. I thought of Matt G., Levi A., and John Ginger P. who came home safely from deployments and died on American soil. So many things I do not understand.
The verses I wrote down were sober.
Isaiah 56:5, “To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.”New American Standard Bible, May 22, 2022
Isaiah 63:9, “In all their affliction He was afflicted and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.”New American Standard Bible, May 24, 2022
Jeremiah 2:25, “Keep your feet from being unshod and your throat from thirst…”New American Standard Bible, May 27, 2022
Jeremiah 2:3, “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth who have carried out His ordinances; seek righteousness, seek humility. Perhaps you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger.”New American Standard Bible, May 27, 2022
Jeremiah 3:12, 13, “Go and proclaim these words toward the north and say, ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord; ‘I will not look upon you in anger. For I am gracious,’ declares the Lord; ‘I will not be angry forever. 13) Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the Lord your God…and you have not obeyed My voice.’…”New American Standard Bible, May 28, 2022
Jeremiah 5:19, “It shall come about when they say, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?’ then you shall say to them, ‘As you have forsaken Me [God] and served foreign gods in your land…'”New American Standard Bible, May 29, 2022
Nahum 1:7, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him.”New American Standard Bible, May 30, 2022
Jeremiah 9:1, “Oh, that my head were waters and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!”New American Standard Bible, May 31, 2022
Today the children killed in Uvaldey Texas were laid to rest in the graves assigned to them. I would not have chosen this. I know they will be remembered. I know God will carry their families through the rest of their days.
Each day I will put on my shoes, drink my water, and pray for them. I will seek the Lord and acknowledge my iniquity. I will obey God and serve only Him. I will take refuge in Him even in times of great grief.
Because Jesus is no longer in the grave assigned to him!
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