In January when my wife and I were called up front and told that our church was sending us to the Holy Land, I almost said, “Thanks, we love going to Wisconsin.” I’m glad I didn’t say that because my home state has now been bumped to the #2 spot. Our trip to Israel in May was not only an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; it was a life-changing encounter. 

We spent four days in Jerusalem and one day we walked on the Via Dolorosa, the road of suffering. We found out that this road, while popular with tourists, was not what Jesus walked on. Our guide then took us to an out-of-the-way building. We went inside and traveled down a stairway several hundred feet below ground. 

We gathered as a group and our leader asked someone to read John 19. In this passage we learn that Pilate searched for a way to not have Jesus crucified, but then the religious leaders pressured him: “When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement…”

Our guide then told us to look down at the pavement because this was the exact spot Jesus was standing on when He was sentenced to die. We all stood there in stunned silence until we could hear people crying around us. Beth and I bent down and touched the pavement, thanking Jesus for coming down to save us from our sins.

On the final day of our trip, we went back to the Garden Tomb for the second time. When we stopped at the hotel desk to ask for directions, we were stunned to hear that the clerks had never heard of the Garden Tomb! We discovered later that it was only three blocks from the hotel. They were so close, yet so far away.

Does that describe you today? Are you close, yet far away? If so, it’s time to seek out the Savior.  He was sentenced to die for your sins. He was buried. He rose again. He ascended into Heaven. And, He’s coming back!

You don’t have to travel to Israel to find Jesus. He’s already invited you to trust Him with your life so that your sins can be forgiven. Believe and receive Him right now … and you will have a life-changing encounter today. 

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