Newsline

Newsline , Society

Jerusalem, Hope, and Heart

Posted on Monday, December 11, 2023
|
by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
|
13 Comments
Mount of Olives view from Solomon`s Temple grounds in Jerusalem, Israel

Several times in life, I have found myself in Jerusalem. The place is transcendent, every square inch historic, solemn to the point of involuntary prayerfulness, transporting a soul back in time until the feeling overwhelms you, the coming to grips with where you are, right where Christ was. In these choppy times, as humanity fractures, recalling Jerusalem’s reality is a balm for weary hearts.

Climbing the Mount of Olives, one is gradually, then completely, overtaken by the enormity of where one is. Here, around you, are chapels and churches, graves and reminders of how real the Bible is, how real Christ was when he walked and taught in this exact place, teaching again as you soak up the place.

Adding realness to what feels surreal, stories from the Bible are corroborated by the very terrain, geography, lay of the land, everything right where it should be, no break in the 2000-year chain of custody.

If you can believe it, even the ancient olive trees, and quiet Garden of Gethsemane where Christ prayed before his crucifixion and ascension, seem preserved, largely untouched by time. Here Christ shut his eyes and found peace.

Wrote Luke, Christ taught in Jerusalem by day, and “at night, he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet,” that is, Mount of Olives. On the far side lies the grave of Lazarus, where Christ raised him on what we celebrate as Lazarus Saturday. Wrote John, here “Jesus wept” for Lazarus, then raised him.

Here, too, as if the place itself calls forth tears, Christ would weep again. He would weep first for Jerusalem, and later, toward the end of his time on earth, in prayer to his Father.  As Luke recorded, he “went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.”

“And when he came to the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation,’ and he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will be done, but yours, be done.’”

The realness of it is almost overwhelming. A stone’s throw we know. Stones are everywhere there. Kneeling, we know. We kneel as he kneeled. The fear of mortality we know, yet too the rightness of a prayer that, in humility asks, “Not my will be done, but yours, be done.” We knew these things, too. 

Then, as one stands in that place, the otherworldly nature of what transpired and lives on, grabs you. Luke’s next line, “And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Here, in this place, on this ground, under this sun, with this around him, Christ did that.

With turmoil enveloping Jerusalem, Israel, and wider Holy Land, the places Christ walked – and before him the Jewish nation, after him those of Muslim faith, these images surge back. They are arresting.

I recall standing high up and looking down. Around the Mount of Olives lay Old Jerusalem, sacred places in all three religions. For me, here was living corroboration of the New Testament. I recall thinking that Christ looked over the Dead Sea from here, across the West Bank, right where I stood. It sent shivers.

So what comes of remembering this? What comes of knowing, in the season of light, as Christmas approaches, the reality of that place? As the modern world frays, and devolves to terror and war, what good is there in knowing that the words of the Bible can be walked still, are as real as real gets?

Hope is the answer. Hope exists – bright and clear – in this very time, in this very life, and in what lies beyond, despite our recurring inanity, frequent insanity, and the repeated stumbling of humanity.

If we can only stop long enough – whatever our faith, depth, and natural doubts; whatever our stress, deprivation, waves of sadness, worry about Mankind’s madness – to remember the realness of it all, and the peace that resides in doggedly believing in and pursuing peace, there is hope.

Bottom line, beyond conveying hope by recalling how real it was to stand there, bathed in Old Jerusalem, hot sun on my face, light breeze in my hair, ancient olive trees everywhere, is this:  Before giving in, trust what you know, what you have believed from the start. Jerusalem’s reality is the balm for the heart.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...

The AMAC Action Logo

Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.

Donate Now
Share this article:
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
13 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Honey
Honey
2 months ago

Lovely article.
And while you are contemplating the beauty, all the history, consider this:
I was sitting and couldn’t go up to Masada because I was injured and couldn’t make the last steep climb.
A Christian woman who also couldn’t go was sitting with me while we waited for our tour to rejoin us.
I asked her how do Christians feel now that Jews are in charge of all of the tourist destinations.
She answered, “Oh, we are much happier. When the Arabs were in control, they desecrated graves, stealing stones from them, they looted gold and whatever they could from the churches. Now everything has been restored by the Jews at the state’s expense and looks like it did and it is kept up and preserved all the time.”

Rhonda
Rhonda
2 months ago

Amazing, uplifting article.

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
2 months ago

The great strength with hope when the goal is peace – the encouragement that is developed ,it is the reverence that gives purpose to life knowing that the spiritual things are there ,always , on a different level at times , but always there. This is a very encouraging idea you presented in this article Robert . To trust in what we know , for sure , that idea is vital . To have the light of truth guide us in understanding the will of God and to appreciate the opportunities to be part of helping to make it a better world . I keep in mind the two words Ave Maria, that are the beginning of the story of the life of Christ . The reverence of the song/prayer Ave Maria – provides for encouraging thought always. The example of the Holy Family Mary, Joseph , Jesus Christ – inspiration for fulfilling our purpose in this life. To have the right spirit that respects trust, hope , truth .

Donna
Donna
2 months ago

Yes, our dear Lord Jesus, wept and prayed and ascended into Heaven from that same spot, and will return to the same spot according to the scripture. Acts 1:10-11, Zechariah 14:4.

Howard
Howard
2 months ago

What more can be said! Very inspiring, Bob. I have always wanted to tour the Holy Land, but was never able to. All of us would do well to make that tour, if not in person, but through the Bible.

Roberta Kammer
Roberta Kammer
2 months ago

Thank you.
That’s all. ❤

Henri
Henri
2 months ago

Beautiful article!
Thank you for publishing this….I will certainly share!

Max
Max
2 months ago

RBC, thank you for a wonderful article. Everyone should take the time to visit Israel and Jerusalem where the Bible comes alive as you walk in the areas where Lord Jesus also walked and taught.

anna hubert
anna hubert
2 months ago

It stood for a long time hopefully it will remain so for a time to come and longer

Charles
Charles
2 months ago

Thank you. As I read, I seemed to be there.

SAW
SAW
2 months ago

Thank you Robert, very well written and moving for me…

An older blonde women laughing in the kitchen with a grey haired man.
AMAC’s Medicare Advisory Service
The knowledge, guidance, and choices of coverage you’re looking for. The exceptional service you deserve.
The AMAC App on 3 different iPhone
Download the AMAC App
The AMAC App is the place to go for insightful news wherever you are and whenever you want.
International Women s Day was celebrated in Kunar Afghanistan. Over 300 Women particpated to hear speeches on women s rights in the war torn country.
Magic Dream Big message on sunny road
Donald Trump
police tape, migrant crime in cities

Stay informed! Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter.

"*" indicates required fields

13
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Subscribe to AMAC Daily News and Games