There is a great expanse of ancient steps just on the outer wall of Jerusalem known as the southern steps. Here in the days of our Lord, Jesus would likely have walked here frequently, teaching His disciples as He journeyed between Jerusalem and Bethel. Archaeologists have uncovered a sizable section of these historic layers of ascending and descending stones.
Our troupe of pilgrims gathered here on a Sunday morning. It was the site for our worship service in the Old City. We were all looking forward to a time of worship.
The guide took to the microphone and told us how significant this location was to all who follow the Savior. His arm swung as he spoke about the likely movements of our Lord. We could see Him in our minds eye climbing these very steps as He talked with His followers.
Then, Steve Green came up to the microphone and sang a song that stirred our souls. We were 800 strong yet we were lifted high on the platform of worship. Clearly the audience of One was receiving our praise that morning.
Next, Chuck Swindoll opened the Word and preached a powerful sermon. He tracked the footsteps of Jesus and uncovered the significance of the city for Jesus’ final days. 2000 years ago this was the very site where people listened and saw what Jesus offered.
Once it came time to decide, Israel’s leaders chose not to believe Jesus was who He claimed to be. That left them with the horrible conclusion that Jesus was a blasphemer and must be punished by death. Is man in his sin so wicked as to take the Son of God and kill Him?
All of us with our sin are culpable of this heinous deed. Jesus died because we needed a perfect sacrifice to be a substitute for our redemption. This perfect Son of God who walked on these steps where we sat did that for all the world.
The sun shone down hot on our travelling bodies. It was warm. The beads of sweat dripped down my shirt.
I touched the cold stone that was my pew on that Sunday. Maybe Jesus stepped on this very rock so many years ago. What amazing love He gave to all of us.
Never again would our tour group gather for another worship service like this. At least on this earth, we would not. Maybe again in eternity we will repeat this with countless saints and Jesus leading us in our praise.
photo credit: brucefong photography