Before we went to the Mount of Olives we stopped at Bethphage, a place Jesus visited often. Unlike the Mount of Olives which was usually busy, Bethphage was quiet, a place where Jesus had friends he could simplyhang put with. We viewed some tombs there (empty) and that helped understand how/where Jesus was buried. We also learned burial tombs were catacombs so it was very important Jesus named Lazarus or anyone could have come out of the tomb!
Mount of Olives is busy! It offers aspectacular view of Jerusalem. I can seewhy Jesus wept when he approached to make his final entry into that Holy City. At the chapel built to honor where Jesus wept, a small chapel, we entered to the singing of a German group of pilgrims. I led us in a chorus of Alleluia and, as we exited, a group of Zimbabian pilgrims began to sing. It was an amazing moment that brought tears to my eyes. We are indeed all children of God.
The Via Delorosa is an arduous trek through the old walled city. We learned that the Via was actually established in the 1600's and probably not the route Jesus took to Calvary. The actual route was along the Cardo and was much shorter, which made a lot more sense to me. Anyway, we did both! Four hours later we ended at the site thatoils now confirmed as the site where Jesus was crucified and buried, and rose from the dead. Itdis hard to explain the range of emotions I felt being there. It is a very busy place filled with pilgrims from all over the world. It is noisy, dark (it's in the Church of the Holy Seplecure) and divided between three Christian sects. In many ways my most personal experience of Jesus was in Galilee.
Today we go back to the Temple Mount and the Teaching Steps.
Shalom, Salaam, Peace