Letter #205: The Garden Tomb

April 23, 2011

Dear garden tomb,

Holy smokes, you’re unreal. I’ve heard about Jesus for 24 Easters now, but after seeing the places Christ lived and later died, I will never celebrate or think of Easter the same again. After visiting the places highlighted yesterday, we visited you.

For the record, there are typically two locations in Jerusalem where people say major religious events happened. One where Constantine declared it happened during his rule, and one where things probably really happened based on the geography, history and biblical accounts. This was super interesting to me because the ‘traditional’ sites Constantine chose all seemed to have huge, man-made churches and shrines on them. These all seemed very stiff, unnatural and religious. They seemed atypical of what Jesus would have wanted. See for yourselves…

Reppin' O-State all the way in Jerusalem!

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre...the 'traditional' site of Jesus' tomb

That being said, you were one of my favorite places to visit the entire trip! You are a small plot of land wedged in the middle of one of the most jam packed cities in our world. Almost like a lush, natural, gorgeous park in the middle of a concrete jungle. You were breathtakingly beautiful and one of the most surreal moments of my life. You’re the place Jesus was thought to be buried, the most talked about location during this holiday.

I found a couple things interesting about you. First of all, you are completely free. People would pay to see you for sure, but you’ve maintained free admission and run solely on donations. This is awesome. Secondly, you’re completely operated by the Brits. How random?! They bought it in 1894 and still own it today. It has no connection to any denomination and has no church buildings on it. Our guided tour with our English accented guide made for an even better experience! Our guide, Rory, spends eight months in England and four months giving tours of his Savior’s tomb every year. Can I convert my citizenship please?!

Rory...my favorite Brit ever and the man that brought faith, Scripture and Christ to life

So, why do people think you’re the spot. I didn’t have time to research this, so I’m going off of memory. Geographically, you make sense. You’re right next to the thought to be location of Golgotha, and John 19:31-42 tells us the tomb was in a garden. You are directly outside the city walls. Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body to bury. He was wealthy, and a first century winepress was found on this land. A tomb was present that had no bones in it. Directly outside you, there’s a track of sorts…where the stone that covered the entrance would’ve rolled. There are even holes in the rock that could possibly be slits where people put sticks/poles to hold the rock to ensure Jesus’ body wasn’t stolen to make his resurrection look real.

The 'track' where a stone could be rolled and the entrance to the tomb itself.

The reasons people believe you are the place Jesus was buried are endless, and it’s intriguing to think about. Everyone has to make their own deduction, but it sure is fun to think about the details and Scripture fulfilled in Christ’s death and how archaeology and history match the Bible.

Appreciating this opportunity to recap the most life-changing trip ever,

Advocate of you being the real location

**The last of the regularly scheduled April Saturdays post will be next week!


One comment

  1. […] Garden Tomb […]

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