In the last number of days, we have imagined Jesus in various settings and situations in and around Jerusalem. We pictured him coming down from the Temple Mount across the Kidron Valley and into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray . . . but imagine seeing that land of Jesus for yourself!!
Honestly, in my heart of hearts, I never thought I would see Israel with my own eyes, except in pictures or on the Rick Steves' travel show. Partly because Israel is half a world away from my home, in excess of 12,000 miles.
But I went in November, 2016, and the experience expanded my thinking and also grew my faith in so many ways.
"Wait, is it safe?" The first question folks asked me before I went. "Yes, I think so," I quietly replied.
And now I have gone a second time in February of this year and in answer to the question, "Is it safe?" I would say, "Yes, Israel is as safe as the United States-maybe safer." When I prepared for this last trip, I never gave safety a thought-and that's the truth.
And while I never thought I would get there, I cannot wait to go back - that's right, for a third time. And here's my question for you: Would you like to go to Israel and see the land yourself?
It is the historian's dream to see the ancient land,
an archaeologist's fantasy to see the ongoing excavations
unearthing thousands of years of civilization
the buried layers of earth revealing names and places found in the Scripture. It is beyond fascinating.
Because of my trips to Israel - the last which explored the military/political aspects of the country - I am so excited to share this experience with friends and colleagues. In my more than 25 years of teaching the Bible, nothing has informed my thinking as much as seeing the land of the prophets, the land where Jesus was born, grew up, taught, died and rose again.
Take note: when touring Israel, there are three key players in your experience: the Israeli tour guide in the land, the teacher who crafts your trip (me) and the Israeli bus driver who navigates quite a bit.
For Journey to Israel, February 2019, I have been blessed to procure a fabulous Israeli guide/New Testament scholar who served in the IDF and is a second generation guide in the Land.
Dates have been set for Journey to Israel, February 2019, flying from
New York, February 3 to Tel Aviv and returning February 12 to NYC.
What will the trip involve?
Time in the land is divided between two areas: around the Sea of Galilee/Tiberius and in and around Jerusalem.
The first part of the trip will be concentrated around the magical Sea of Galilee, and will include the Mount of Beatitudes - the site of the Sermon on the Mount; Tabgha, the site of the miracle of the multiplication of the "loaves and fishes" and Capernaum where Jesus founded his ministry and taught and did the miraculous.
We will visit the Jordan River ~ wanna be baptized where Jesus was baptized?
Magdala ~ this is fantastic ~ a recent 'dig' that defies description. It is the recorded place where the woman with the 'issue of blood' reached out and touched the hem of Jesus' garment and was healed, because of her faith. Friend, do you need a touch from God right now? Perhaps you need to reach out and touch the hem of Jesus' garment, yet today . . . now.
Then there's Cana, site of the first miracle of Jesus. "Turning water into wine at the wedding ceremony," and on to Nazareth.
Mt. Carmel - Enjoy the superb view from the rooftop of the Carmelite monastery...
View of the valley of Megiddo . . . can you say 'Armageddon'?
Second part: Jerusalem! There is nothing like going 'up to Jerusalem' ! The ascent fills you with a sense of anticipation which does not disappoint.
Along with Jerusalem, we will go to Bethlehem - the Church of the Nativity.
Wilderness of Judea, passing by Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.
Cable car up to the dramatic site of Masada which Herod built . . .
Wanna float in the Dead Sea? Lowest place on earth. It is Wild!
Drive into mysterious Ein Gedi, nature preserve - where David hid from Saul, wrote many of the psalms.
Jerusalem: Temple Mount, Western Wall [Wailing Wall] in which we can place our written prayers, along with the prayers of thousands of others who have gone before us.
We will explore The Old City, including the Jewish Quarter, the Via Dolorosa,
Walk the Kidron Valley to the Garden of Gethsemane . . . and so much more, including the Pools of Bethesda.
So, do you want to go with me? The Journey to Israel, February 2019, is all inclusive out of New York City for a cost of $3,898* - yes, that includes roundtrip airfare, beautiful hotel accommodations, bus and guide in Israel, entrance fees and tips to all sites in Israel, and breakfast and dinner in Israel. Wanting to limit this trip to just one 'bus full' of folks. (*based on current fares - could vary every so slightly)
Wanna go? If so, hit 'reply' and I will send you next steps . . . deposit, etc.
There is nothing like a trip to Israel - to walk on the land, to see the water, experience the people, life, etc. Let's go together.
Hoping to hear from you!