Archaeologist believes he found the site of Jesus’ trial by Pontius Pilate

(I’ll go back to blogging on Morocco later this week)

This is apt for this time of the year! (As we are in Easter and Passover)


(Worth mentioning that this is from a secular Israeli news source)

Easter at the Garden Tomb 2012

This is me and my friend Jimmy, hes an older gent in his 70s from Florida who works in the Bridges for Peace food bank.

We got up very early to get to an Easter service at the Garden Tomb, there must be 1,000-1,500 people there, and the worship band was made of people mostly from my church but a few others as well.

Getting their early meant we got a seat close to the front, hence doesn’t look that packed….

Its a real privilege to be spending this special day in a place most likely to be thought where the world’s shortest required grave ever.

Not seen this before, but Jimmy pointed out to me a kiosk with an Arab gent that does very nice Arabic coffee for a bargain price of 5 Shekels (85p – half what you pay in usual places in town)   So this was a nice way to get prepared for the rest of the day as I ride 4 miles back across town to my flat.

The folks coming out of the alley way where the garden is didn’t seem to notice this place, I think he deserves more business.   I think he mostly sells coffee, orange juice and cigarettes to people getting on the Arab buses which are heading to Ramallah, Nabulus or the other Palestinian cities.

I wrote on easter here in Jerusalem when I went last year also.

Easter Sunday – Resurrection day at the tomb

My phone woke me up at 4.45am today on Easter Sunday morning, a silly time indeed, but I needed to leave just after 5 to get to the other end of the city for a special event with people churches all over the city starting at 06.00.

Lots of people are queuing outside….

Looks like people lining up for the sales (sunday is a regular work day in Israel) or going to a concert of some kind….

Aha, its starting to become clear now….

This was a special place to celebration of Jesus’ resurrection at the very place mostly likely to have been buried, but most definitely risen!

Really good service from a speaker I have not heard from before, and some great worship music from my (King of Kings) congregation.

It did mean that that leader speaking, the worship band and the tomb itself were hidden from view as there were bushes and trees in front of where I was sitting thought!   I would have a guess that there was about 2000 people crammed into the garden.  About half of the people I would guess are Christian tourists on a short holiday,with the remainder being Israeli believers and foreign Christians like me volunteering in the land.

Finally a quick glimpse of the tomb itself as people are leaving.

This was a memorable day to spend Easter Sunday.  I missed this service last year as I didn’t wake up in time!!

Funnily enough, two years ago I was working for an Israeli software company in Southampton UK, there we were given a chocolate egg by our bosses as an Easter present!  Also Pesach was mentioned as well as the Jewish holiday is the week before Easter.

Next: My journey to Nazareth and Cana to see Jesus’ childhood

St Peter’s fish

This is a Tilapia, also known as St Peter’s fish.  Commonly found in the Sea of Galilee, there are several restaurants in Tiberias (the largest city in this area) and places around Galilee.

Known as St Peter’s fish as its largely thought to be the creature that had the coin in its mouth in the bible.  Matthew 17 : 24

I went down the market and bought one of these for dinner for friday.   The fishmonger gutted it for me and rinsed with a shower head thing that was hanging on shelf.   The market is a good place to get fresh fish, even if the man had a cigarette in his mouth whilst working.

This one is about 6-7 inches long and has dark grey scales and white flesh once cooked, it also has a row of tiny sharp teeth.

After Jesus’ resurrection, after his followers were in disbelief he had come back to see them, he asked Peter for a piece of the fish they were sharing, as way to prove a point he was not a ghost.  Luke 24 : 40 I would take a bet it was some of this type of fish.

25 minutes under the grill at 150 and its looking good.   I need a bit more skill at getting the bones in one go though.   Also meant I found a use for some limes sitting in the back of the fridge. 🙂

I should of taken a photo before I cut the head off. 🙂

Easter is truly about the greatest story ever told

Is the story of Jesus relevant today to those who are not Christian?   I have been thinking about some well loved movies and these recent stories has some startlingly similar elements to them.

The Matrix

Thomas Anderson aka ‘Neo’ is picked by his new employers to save the world, aside from as a software developer he does not really have the means to be a slick, fast thinking and smart super agent.  However his mentor Morpheus soon get him trained up and running.  Here just like Jesus was tempted in the desert, Neo is searched at his work place and consequently arrested and offered to have criminal accusations dropped in return to cooperate with the demands of Smith and his secret police.

Rather than walking on water, Morpheus teaches Neo that he can do miracles if he just trusts he can do it, ie: leap off of buildings and jump huge heights to another location, and cheat death by bouncing off the road, or dodge bullets.

Of course here, one of the members of the team, Cypher is really a defector working for Agent Smith.  Judas in the bible had the responsibility of looking after finances, here Cypher has the responsibility of being the main IT systems administrator and to oversee possible security threats to his employer, in both circumstances these roles are abused.  Instead of pieces of silver, Cypher sits in a software-virtualised high class restaurant and is told he can have ‘anything you want!’ by Agent Smith if he traitorously turns over the secrets of his organisation.

The Bible calls Satan the Father of all lies, and here in the Matrix, Agent Smith can easily clone himself or morph himself or his minions into any kind of person to his deceptive advantage.

1) Egypt banned the Matrix film because it contained the word ‘Zion’
2) The ship the Nebuchadnezzar has an inscription that reads “Mark III No. 11 made in the USA year 2069.” Mark 3:11 reads “And whenever those possessed by evil spirits caught sight of him, they would fall down in front of him shrieking, ‘You are the Son of God!'” – quoted from Wikipedia

Star Wars

Here as an enthusiastic young man who group up an ordinary background wanting to become part of the rebel alliance, Luke Skywalker has two mentors Obi Wan Kanobi and Yoda, both of these well respected individuals die, well they actually just seem to suddenly fade away, but only to be still around in spirit offering help when Luke goes through tough decisions.

Later on when Luke has a showdown with the Emperor, he is tempted by ‘I am unarmed, strike me down’ encouraging Luke to be more angry and resentful, seeing as he made his father turn away from good to evil.   Of course Luke after getting caught in this mistake before, he knows this is a trap and that the Emperor gets more powerful from absorbing hate, and uses talk of good things to ultimately defeat this particular character of Satan.

Of course, I do also like the building and scenery from Star Wars with white stone buildings although in a futuristic setting, and not a million miles away from the ancient buildings I see around in Jerusalem.

Fact: Endor, the home of the Ewoks tree top village, is also a place in the Bible.  See Joshua 17 1-12

Red Dwarf

In one episode, the four members of the ship Starbug, are looking for an essential spare part on a seemingly empty planet until a strange entity suddenly appears (voiced by actor Stephen Fry)  who announces himself as ‘My name is Legion, for we are many’  here there is an exact reference to a demon that spoke in Mark 5 : 10.

The Lion Witch & the Wardrobe.

Where as CS Lewis was a Christian, this probably has to be as a fictional story, the most closest set of ideas with Aslan the lion who mimics the death and resurrection of Jesus and with Eustace who betrayed Aslan for some Turkish Delight, albeit with a smaller (4 I think?) number of followers that the original 12.

Here, I think even the most hardened atheist should agree that the story of Jesus’s birth, ministry work, death and resurrection has had elements imitated in most probably thousands of books and movies ever since, we should be thankful for that the story this Easter really is part of the Greatest story ever told. 🙂

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