As I’ve shared with you before, I had the privilege of touring the Holy Land a few years ago with a group of Christian women journalists. Reading through the Gospel of John in our Virtual VBS, I can’t help but be reminded of some of the things we saw, the places we went, the people we met. By far, the most meaningful experience for me was our visit to the Garden Tomb.
I found that so many of the traditional religious sites we visited were dark and dismal places – shrouded by centuries of superstition and empty ritual. Often, in order to accept that a place was what it claimed to be, you’d have to completely disregard the Biblical account of what supposedly occurred there – or twist the Scriptures to make them fit –accepting the traditions of men over the truth of the Word.
But in the peaceful beauty of the Garden Tomb, it was a different story. The tours are led by volunteer chaplains — retired pastors and missionaries. Our chaplain led us from place to place around the Garden, sharing the Scriptures with us and pointing out how in every respect, what we were looking at matched the Biblical description. “This is what the Bible says… and this is what we find.” A hillside shaped like a skull. An ancient garden with a period cistern and winepress (not just some shrubberies added centuries later).
It was so straightforward, so simple and beautiful and faith-affirming.
Our tour ended at the tomb itself. After explaining traditional burial customs and reminding us of the description of this place in the gospels, our guide concluded his presentation with these powerful words:
“But you know, you’ve come all this way to see nothing. The tomb is empty. My Jesus is not here. He is risen, just as He said.”
Hallelujah! Our hope is not in pilgrimages to sacred sites, ancient altars, and man-made monuments. Our faith is built on the reality of the resurrection. Our trust is in our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Peter 1:3)
He lives! And because He lives, we live, too. (John 14:19) First Corinthians 15:55-57 asks: “Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We have this blessed assurance that, thanks to Jesus, our sins have been forgiven. One day we will be able to enter the presence of God and live forever with Him in Heaven. We also know that our living Lord is with us here and now. That everyday He surrounds us with His love, fills us with His joy and peace, and gives us strength to withstand any trials that come our way.
Reflecting on this powerful truth, Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote this beautiful chorus: “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone, because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living — just because He lives.”
You couldn’t ask for a better song to get stuck in your head!
This Week’s Assignment:
If you’re participating in our Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls Summer in the Son : You’ve made it to the final week, Week 9 — way to go! If you’ve missed a few posts (or even a few weeks) that’s okay… I probably would have, too, if I wasn’t writing them :) They’ll be here on this site, any time you want to go back and check them out. The important thing is what you DID do, that you wouldn’t have otherwise. And that you finish strong!
Read John Chs 20-21.
Memorize John 20:21.
Today’s Question: When we started our summer adventure, our goal was to draw closer to Jesus — to get to know Him better. What’s one thing you’ve learned either about Him or from Him? What has He been teaching you?