Follow in the Footsteps

Try as I may I couldn’t come up with the satellite images of the places Jesus walked in the Holy Land. I googled “Jesus Walk”, “Jesus Places Visited” and many other versions of this theme on Google Earth. I thought if I could find them on the satellite photos I could zoom in close enough to see the actual places. I dimly thought of “big brother” honing into my pc to know why I wanted to see these famous landmarks in Israel, some government official whose entire career it is to spy on me.  What a snooze that would be! Ha!

I’m sure I could find those posts on Jesus’ journey if I’d known what I was doing, but as God is so good, he provided me with not one but two opportunities to see a bit of the very places Jesus traveled to.

The first came from the show Globe Trekker, a unique travel show where 20 something’s hit the beaten and unbeaten paths in a wide variety of lesser known places around the world. It’s a great show, free of vitriol and head banging doom. Anyway, I tuned it one evening to see this optimistic young man heading into the Holy Land for a gambit around.

His tour guide was a young woman who had “sold everything , my car, everything, quit my job in Michigan and came here. God told me to come here, I don’t know why. I didn’t even have a job, now I do this,” they were seated on a plateau overlooking the Dead Sea. The young man, to his credit didn’t blink, and accepted her simple explanation of an American living so far from home. They trekked from place to place on what was thought to be an ancient well travelled roads but didn’t really get into the heart of Jesus’ life and accomplishments.

A few weeks later, I was privileged to be invited to a luncheon at which two women who had just returned from the Holy Land were going to show us their travel log on the computer. It was quite an excursion for them, with blizzards hampering their departure and long lines at all the major stopping points along the way. Christmas time in Israel is a popular travel destination.

The ladies provided scripture to explain each site they visited. The fields where the shepard’s saw the angels that told of the good news of the birth of our savior. The actual room where Mary was when she was visited by an angel and told she would bear a son when she had known no man. The birthplace of Jesus, where you must get down on your knees to see in, as you should.

The very house where Jesus was teaching, his disciple Peter’s mother-in-law’s house, where it was so crowded young people ripped open the roof and lowered their friend in on a stretcher for they knew beyond a doubt that Jesus would heal their friend.

Every major milestone on route has been enshrined and preserved with a church and an altar. It’s all been preserved, through centuries, with modern life super imposed onto the most important events in our history. Preserved amidst trial and occupation, warring cultures and religions, we can still stand on the very places the Son of God stood and prayed, and worshipped His Father.

The sentiment was not lost on us as the women described it all so beautifully. How glorious it was to be there, how incredulous they were, how honored and humbled they felt. The women were overcome many times on their trip. Because the eyes of their understanding were opened so widely, they said they often wept, with an overwhelming of sense of being home. Nearer to God. Closer to Jesus.

What a trip of a life time!  What a gift for an afternoon, to see all the important sites of Jesus’ journey through the eyes of these two sweet ladies. To know at any time,(after I get a passport), I could be there in 10 hours and see them myself.

Oh what a joy that would be! To stand and look out over the sea of Galilee and see what Jesus must have seen! To stand in the Garden of Gethsemane and wonder what He must have felt -the sorrow and the agony the resignation.

It occurred to me in church yesterday, when we said the Lord’s Prayer as one, in that very moment we are in a way standing in Jesus’ footsteps. Speaking the very words he spoke. Our hearts lifted to God.

Your will be done.

Your kingdom come.

I cannot say them any other way.

Jesus spoke those very words, the ones we say so easily, that we may have learned in first grade.  How easy it is for those words to become trite, and callused. Tripping off the tongue so lithely.

I like to take them out, and pour over each word. Examine them. They came from the Father Himself, through the Son, written so that we shall learn of His great love.

Each time we say the Lord’s Prayer we are affirming God’s truth along with Jesus. How much closer could we get?

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your word Lord.

Thank you for hearing our prayers. Teach us to know each sentence of your Word with the tension and posture that you would have us use.  In each thimble full of your teaching lies a life-long lesson. Place in us a measure of heart knowledge that we may grasp the profound meaning you would have us learn from your word. Let us not miss a drop, or become so casual that we forget to whom we are addressing.

Teach us poise and reverence for you Father.

Amen!

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