A few years ago I had the opportunity to go to Israel.
Now I know lots of friends who have traveled to Israel and they describe it as their most meaningful spiritual experience. Places you’ve read about in the Scripture take on a whole new meaning when you encounter the places mentioned in the Bible firsthand. [Tweet this]
It’s one thing to read about the Dead Sea. But it’s another thing to put on a swimsuit, climb along the slippery rocky shores and immerse yourself in a body of water where you can’t help but float while also discovering every little cut on your body stinging because of the salt content.
It’s one thing to read about Jesus on the Sea of Galilee with his disciples, but it’s another thing to be riding along in a small fishing boat on the Galilee when the clouds turn dark and a storm rolls in.
It’s one thing to see a mention of a camel in the Bible, but it’s a whole experience to make the awkward climb onto a camel’s back and imagine traveling across deserts on these creatures—by the way, in case you were wondering, they smell terrible.
Of all the places that we visited in Israel, the one which was the most meaningful for me was the garden tomb.
There was a long rock wall and a large opening. At the base of the wall was a groove in the stone, where a large rock could be rolled over the opening. Stepping inside the tomb, dark and cold, I was struck by the fact there’s no one there.
I know that sounds so simplistic and obvious, but until I saw with my own eyes, I never comprehended the profoundness of an empty tomb. I remember taking my hand and pressing it up against the cold rock and thinking, “This is what the resurrection power of Jesus Christ feels like.” This is what the resurrection looks like. It’s embodied in an empty tomb. [Tweet this]
In the silence of the moment, I had to ask myself, do I really believe in the resurrection power of Jesus? I know I say I do. But do I really believe?
The empty tomb is the ultimate challenge for us to choose to walk among the believing, not the unbelieving. [Tweet this]
Are there reasons not to believe? Absolutely. Sometimes we need to experience the reality of Jesus in our own lives in order to truly believe.
God knows that. In many ways that’s what the Gospel of John is all about. At the end of John 20, the author reminds us that there were many other signs Jesus performed which aren’t recorded, but, “These have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”
May you experience the power of the resurrection in your own life in unexpected ways and may Jesus reveal himself to you in ways that transform you forever.
This week we dove into John 20-21. You can catch up on this week, here. I can’t believe we’re wrapping up our time through John. I have so enjoyed exploring this beautiful Gospel with you. I hope you’ll join us next week as we begin our time in GENESIS! (Click here to learn more).
FOR DISCUSSION: Answer the following questions as a comment to this blog post. Feel free to ask questions, reply to others’ comments, and post prayer requests.
- Jesus pursues Thomas. He specifically reveals himself to Thomas, inviting Thomas to touch his scars. In what ways has Jesus been pursuing you over the course of this study?
- After engaging in a Bible study, sometimes it’s easy to move on to the next one without taking time to reflect on what God has been communicating to you. Like a traveler on a long road trip, you can wake up and wonder, Where have I just been? What did you learn through this study that you never knew about John’s Gospel or about Jesus?
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