There are two significant places in Jerusalem that claim to be the place of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection: The Garden Tomb also called Gordon’s Calvary and Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Both have very convincing proofs and very convincing negative aspects as well, so it would be hard to say for sure where our Lord spent the last moments of His Passion.
Of course, God has allowed this on purpose, lest we worship the spot and not the Person. How strange we humans are on that kind of stuff. We just love to get fixed on things.
Personally, I prefer Gordon’s Calvary. It is close to a rocky mountain that sets to the north of Mt. Zion and is high enough from city view that it would make a good place for Roman executions. Also, there is a tranquil peace in the garden below that used to be an ancient vineyard and wine pressing place.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is dark and scary; but my husband, who has studied many of the geographic/archeological spots in Israel, says there is more scholarly proof that this could be the place. Creepy place. Really.
But. Never. Mind. The Garden Tomb is still my favorite. Here’s bit of history about the place.
There is a tomb with an entrance and grave carved out of the stone in the garden, so it gives you the idea of what a sepulcher would be like in Jesus day. It is wonderful to sit in the cool next to the tomb and imagine what it was like that first Easter morning when Mary found the stone rolled away and the grave empty.
There are lots of little coves in this beautiful, ancient garden where you can get alone and meditate on the death and resurrection of our Lord. It is truly one of my favorite spots in Jerusalem.
I wrote this poem after a trip to the Garden Tomb.
From the Nile’s fertile crescent,
flax flowered to spin royalty a garment.
Colored in red and purple,
Egypt’s fine linen
swathed imperial couches and kingly graves.
In Israel and Phoenicia,
dreamy women pressed textured fabric
to yearning hearts,
and merchants bartered
camels, cinnamon, and shiny stones
for the luxurious textile treasure.
linen wove passion with purpose:
a priest’s perfect garment,
a tabernacle’s curtain,
a crimson veil,
a bride’s prepared gift,
sails, and carpet covers.
Once a king, clothed in pure linen,
even danced with all his might.
Most precious purpose ascended
above the cherubim and seraphim
and bore deeper than old earth’s core
the finely twisted linen
that cradled a dead Jewish king.
Transformed shroud into mantle,
by blazon light,
the royal linen glowed transparent
and wafted fragrant with spikenard.
That linen, stained with blood and folded neatly,
imposed life’s ultimate gift
in a garden tomb, found empty.
© Bonnie Saul Wilks
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