Day 14 - Jesus' Triumph

We began the final day of our pilgrimage early with mixed feelings; anticipation of the climactic conclusion of our journey and sadness that we would soon be parting ways. We headed out at 5:30 AM to walk the Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering which marks the traditional route on which Jesus carried his cross to Golgotha. It was powerfully moving to reflect on the various aspects of Jesus' suffering as we made our way through the maze of city streets, drawing ever closer to the site of Jesus' crucifixion. After breakfast we returned to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built 1600 years ago to mark the actual rock of Golgotha and the nearby rock-cut tomb of Jesus. As we began to make sense of this complex building we peeled back the layers of history until we could see clearly the setting in which Jesus gave everything to redeem the world and conquer death! After spending some time in the courtyard of a nearby monastery reflecting on the meaning of Jesus' death for us personally, we headed outside the city to a lovely park where we explored the family tomb of Herod the Great. It is the finest example of a first-century rolling stone tomb that we have and it provided a great opportunity to understand Jesus burial and resurrection more clearly. We shared a final time of worship together, praising God for this great victory that he won through Jesus' resurrection and asking him to help us return home with the love and power to share all that we have experienced in these two weeks. The afternoon was spent with last-minute shopping trips and visits and then we gathered at our good friends' restaurant for a closing dinner before saying our goodbyes. We parted knowing that we have formed a bond that will last a life-time ... Thanks for joining us via this photo blog! Why not consider joining us for one of our pilgrimages in 2016?

An early sunrise over the Mount of Olives and the Old City of Jerusalem.

Walking the traditional Via Dolorosa, the Way of Jesus' Suffering, and reflecting at Station Five marking Simon of Cyrene being compelling to carry Jesus' cross.

The battered facade of the ancient Church of the Holy Sepulcher, significant for what happened here rather than the beauty of its architecture.

The rock-cut tomb of Jesus standing under the glorious dome of the resurrection.

Jesus risen and reigning, surrounded by saints and angels in the beautiful mosaic decorating the dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

The family tomb of Herod the Great with it's first-century rolling stone, just like the borrowed tomb of Jesus.

Another amazing panoramic shot by Bobby Rognlien, this one of the entire city of Jerusalem, from the bell tower of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer.