How amazing! How surreal! Reading the events of the Resurrection… in the city where they took place. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is only a 10 minute walk from here.
I arrived in Jerusalem this evening and I’m staying in the Old City right inside the Jaffa Gate. The city is buzzing with activity. I hear the music playing. There is laughter, eating and dancing. There’s a festival that has attracted thousands to this part of the city.
Passover week here in Jerusalem would have been crowded 2000 years ago, busy and loud just like this. The buzz in the city that Passover was Jesus. Who is this man? Everybody was talking. And then He was crucified, a public spectacle. Everyone would know the story. Everyone would have an opinion.
So when Sunday morning rolled around and the tomb was empty, it’s hard to imagine the buzz of an empty tomb not spreading like wildfire too.
It makes total sense that the chief priests would buy off the Roman guards. But think about it. What’s the likelihood that people in the city would buy their story?
“Hey, remember how the sky turned black. That was crazy, right? And then that earthquake. Wow, that was eerie! And did you hear that dead people walked out of the tombs? Yeah, they’re walking around the city! And then what about the Temple. The curtain was torn in two. This stuff kind of freaks me out. And now, the tomb is empty. And Jesus said he would rise from the dead. Whoa!”
Honestly, in a place like this, at a time like that, who wouldn’t have heard about the resurrection? And hearing, who wouldn’t have been tempted to believe?
But evidence is not enough. It’s not a court case to be argued and won. It’s a battle for the hearts and souls of men and women.
Being here where the gospel was birthed is a potent reminder that proclaiming the gospel is spiritual work and only the Spirit can open eyes, soften hearts, and draw people to Jesus.