Category Archives: Locations

Contemplating the Resurrection of Jesus

Although many hold the Garden Tomb as the authentic site of the death and resurrection of Jesus, the levelheadedness of history and archaeology beg to differ.

The tomb represents a typical 7th-century BC tomb. Because of this, it couldn’t be the “new tomb” the gospels record in connection with Jesus (Matthew 27:60; John 19:41).

Yet . . .

Garden Tomb
The “Garden Tomb” in Jerusalem

Yet there is no better place in Jerusalem than the Garden Tomb to contemplate the central truth of Christianity’s faith—the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

“The important thing is,” the guides always point out, “the tomb is empty.”

—Wayne Stiles
Bible Teacher for Sapphire Bus 6
(Read more of my Bible lands devotionals here)

The Jordan River—A Place of Transition

This part of the Jordan River has seen significant transitions in Israel’s history. Amazingly, the waters of the river parted here:

  • For Joshua, as Israel entered the Promised Land for the first time.
  • For Elijah and Elisha, as Israel prepared to leave the land in Exile.
  • For Jesus, the sky parted (not the river) at His baptism.

All in this same place!

Jordan River
Jordan River, near where Jesus was baptized

The transitions that occurred there were sometimes national—as with Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, and John and Jesus. But the area also had its personal transitions—even conversions—as in the cases of Rahab, Naaman, Zaccheus, and Bartimaeus.

Be they national or personal transitions—or both—any new beginning also requires an ending. It requires leaving one shore and crossing the river for another.

—Wayne Stiles
Bible Teacher for Sapphire Bus 6
(Read more of my Bible lands devotionals here)

Walking in Jesus Steps

Original steps that Jesus walked as he was brought to the house of Caiphus, where Peter denied Him….Mount of Olives is in the background

Jesus Steps
Original steps that Jesus walked

The Eastern Gate of the temple where Jesus will return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The Eastern Gate
The Eastern Gate

Lynn Robertson
Emerald Bus

Jerusalem’s Mountains Offer a Reminder

While in Jerusalem, I like to ponder the psalms that the pilgrims of old would recite from memory as they came “up” to Jerusalem for the annual feasts.

These Psalms of Ascents (Psalms 120-134) stirred up critical reminders of basic themes in a believer’s life. Reminders of faith, forgiveness, family, children, peace, hope, brotherhood, sacrifice, and right attitudes toward God and people. Indeed we need to hear these themes often.

Built into the first-century Jewish culture was the necessity of reminders and repetition—the need of rehearsing truth when the Roman world around them countered God’s Word at every step.

—Wayne Stiles
Bible Teacher for Sapphire Bus 6
(Read more of my Bible lands devotionals here)

Old Jerusalem

We were privileged to be able to have our devotional time inside the Sanctuary of the Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem.

Sanctuary of the Dominus Flevit
Sanctuary of the Dominus Flevit
The Jewish Cemetery on the Mt. of Olives
The Jewish Cemetery on the Mt. of Olives
St. Annes Church
St. Anne’s Church

We sang “How Great Thou Art” with amazing acoustics inside St. Anne’s Church. So moving!!

Gretchen Stevens

David’s Fateful Point of View

Flanked on two sides by steep valleys, the ancient City of David enjoyed a tremendous military advantage—making it relatively easy to defend.

City of David
City of David in the foreground on the right

At the summit, a stepped-stone structure represents one of the largest Iron Age constructions ever excavated, dating from the 12th Century BC.

Many archaeologists believe it likely supported the palace of King David, the ruins of which are partially visible after descending some stairs.

From the vantage on the platform, it’s plain to see how David could easily have looked down over the homes built on the slope below him and seen Bathsheba bathing that fateful evening.

—Wayne Stiles
Bible Teacher for Sapphire Bus 6
(Read more of my Bible lands devotionals here)

Second Century Theater and Jericho

It was fascinating to sit in a second century theater this morning! We are grateful to the Insight for Living team members who schlep the sound equipment from venue to venue!

Second century theater

In Jericho, the ancient columns, mosaics and stonework were beautiful.

Columns of Jericho
Jericho Mosaic
Mosiac in Greek
Elijah’s Spring Fountain in Jericho

Gretchen Stevens
Blue bus