Just as my husband and I were chatting in bed, getting ready to kiss goodnight and roll over to sleep, we decided to sing a song of praise together to end the day. How could we not? With the lights of Mt. Zion and Jerusalem flickering before us, praise is a natural response. We were thinking about something joyful… no nothing came, not a single song… (Imagine that?) Then in his deep, bass voice, my husband unexpectedly started an old hymn that I love, “The Old Rugged Cross.”
My eyes welled with tears as we sang the precious words. I felt to so close to that place, being here in Jerusalem, and I envisioned Gordon’s Calvary or Gan HaKever in Hebrew, not too far from us. What a joy to be so close to place where Jesus was crucified and buried–where just blood was unjustly spilled. It is one of two places that seem very close to the historical account of where Jesus or Yeshua was taken and laid in His grave. The Church of the Holy Sepulchure is the other. Both attracts thousands of seekers and pilgrims each year. It is a beautiful garden today with ancient sepulchures, ancient winepress, trees, and lots of flowers.
Every time I go there, the Holy Spirit meets me and hovers so close, and I leave changed — something deepened in me by reaching out to Him to contemplate His magnificent gift to mankind. In reality, maybe this is the place and maybe it is not; but its beauty and peace allow the mind to focus and pray — to meditate and soak in the personal reality of His death, burial, and resurrection.
So tonight as we prepare for sleep and my eyes fill with tears, I remember:
THE OLD RUGGED CROSS
by George Bennard, 1913
- On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
- Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
- In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
- To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.
My prayer before I sleep:
“Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.” ~Zechariah 12:10
May Jewish people around the world see Yeshua as the long-awaited Messiah who was pierced, buried, and risen on the third day.