Where does one start when summarizing a trip to Israel? Is it a day-by-day recap of sites visited? It is by recounting the food we ate? The weather we experienced? The lack of lines at the sites? Or is it my personal experience at each site, what I felt the Holy Spirit show me in fresh ways?
I think it is none of those things. The beginning point for my experiences in Israel is the empty tomb. You see, without the empty tomb there is no meaning in anything else I saw except a glimpse into times past.
1Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. 2Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. 3His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. 5Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. 7And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”Matthew 28:1-7
As Paul said, “If Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19)
Does your faith and hope rest on the risen Christ? Or are you putting your hope in something else? Good works? Right behavior? Kindness to others? Knowing the scriptures?
Without the resurrection, all these things are worthless. So, my beginning point is the empty tomb!