As Carolyn stood on the Garden of Gethsemane during her Holy Land tour with Living Passages, the weight of the anguish Christ experienced there, just mere hours before he faced the cross, fell on her.
She had to sit down on a bench outside of the Gethsemane Chapel to sob.
She had wanted to go on a Holy Land tour since she was a teenager. But life’s ups and downs pulled her in other directions. Two years after her husband died, she stepped out in faith and signed up for a tour.
“To be able to go in such luxury, with such great leaders and guides, made the trip everything I had hoped for all my life,” she said. “This was my number one bucket list wish.”
There is something about experiencing Biblical Israel that has a profound effect on a Christian. Just like Carolyn found, quiet moments standing in the places Christ stood, taught, lived and died is unlike any other vacation experience.
Why is a Holy Land tour special?
It’s no secret to any Christian that the story arch of the Bible played out in the Holy Land. The Jews are God’s chosen people.
Before you think this a designation that smacks of arrogance and elitism, consider the responsibility of being chosen. The failures and successes of the Israelites through the centuries is inscribed in Scripture for billions of people to read. The opportunity they had to be close to God only magnified their lack of righteousness. It’s a humble mantle to bear.
It might seem strange that God choose this people group, especially knowing how they would stray from Him again and again. Hebrew slaves seem like an unlikely bunch from which to draw Christ’s bloodline. Yet, that is often how God works. Jesus did not come as ruler, or an angel, but as one of us, from lowly beginnings. That was intentional. The story that played out in the Holy Land is laced with humble beginnings, inadequacies, and, except for Christ himself, human flaw.
But how encouraging is that for us, who are also fallen sinful people?
The Israelites story is an important one. The Bible details the course of their history, their movements, their genealogies. The amazing thing is that many of these places, where these stories occurred, still exist. We can still see them with our own eyes. That’s what makes the Holy Land special.
Why go to Biblical Israel now?
Anyone who watches the news gets the impression that residents of Jerusalem are dodging bombs and hunkered in shelters daily. That is far from the truth. Yes, there are areas that may hold more risk, but most of the Holy Land is as safe as any other developed country.
Still, it is often at the eye of political firestorms, so there is no guarantee it will always be this way.
We have read the end of the story, but we don’t know when that end is coming. We don’t know how much time we have. There may be a day that travel to Biblical Israel is no longer possible or safe. Or maybe that day won’t come in our lifetimes. We don’t know. What we do know is that we can go now. Why not take advantage of that?
So why are Holy Land tours worth taking?
It’s one thing to read Scripture from 6,000 miles away, but it is something unique to stand in the places where the events occurred as we read it. It gives us context we have never had before. It explains things that are difficult to explain in simple text. With our own eyes, we can gain new understanding about the Bible, the God we serve and Christ.
The Bible tells a story that as Christians we need to know fully. What better way to hear and understand it than to see it for ourselves on one of our Holy Land tours?
Carolyn said for her the experience in Israel still brings Scripture alive. No longer a far-off place she can’t envision, she remembers that she was right there, standing in the places the Bible describes, every time she reads it.
Interested in one of our Holy Land tours? We have several upcoming tours that make stops in Biblical Israel. Each of our Christian tours includes expert scholars who can offer added insight into biblical history. Let us know if we can help you experience the places you have previously read about in the Bible.