Dec 02, 2019 • Written by Nicki Behnke
My hair stood on end on a beautiful 80 degree day. This wasn’t the first time it had happened that week. On day nine of what I had been referring to as the “trip of a lifetime” to Israel, I found myself standing in an empty tomb.
This wasn’t just any tomb but was the suspected tomb of Jesus- the place where the burial and resurrection took place. I had seen it on flannel boards and raised my hands in remembrance of it with the Easter Sunday choir over the years, but to stand in that place was a powerful reminder of the cornerstone of my identity and faith. The spiritual significance of the moment sunk deep into my being…..
The Spotless Lamb.
The Son of God.
My Abba Father.
Although the tomb would end up being the most significant moment of the week for me, time and time again Israel left me goosebumped and wide-eyed.
It happened again as we woke to a view overlooking the Sea of Galilee, and I prayed that God would “calm the sea” in preparation for the day’s activities. A few hours later, as we sailed across it’s glassy surface, I was reminded that this wasn’t the first time Jesus had calmed this particular body of water.
Later that week, the Bible came to life in a whole new way as we walked through the village of Nazareth, touching the wine press Jesus likely stomped in as a child and stood in the synagogue of Capernaum where He taught.
As we walked among the shepherd’s fields in Bethlehem, I couldn’t help but imagine what it must have felt like when the angel appeared to the shepherds to proclaim the Savior’s birth. The story was so near I could feel the angel’s breathe on my neck... “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
On one particularly beautiful afternoon we walked under the shade of the olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane. The leaves rustled the ancient prayers of Jesus to His Father “Not my will but yours be done…”
The examples could continue on for days, but as I reflect back on my trip I feel incredibly grateful yet humble to have had the privilege of this experience. It really doesn’t change who I am in Christ, but it changes how I view my faith and am certain it will affect how I study God’s Word and live it out.
With a perspective that is both fresh and new, intimacy with my Savior has deepened. It has given me a new hunger and thirst for His Word. It has calmed doubt and assured belief. It has reminded me of who I am in Christ.