Near to the eve of His destruction, He taught in the temple to the multitudes and to His disciples, giving a stern rebuke to the scribes and Pharisees, and they did not receive his words because their hearts were hardened, leading Him to conclude: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gatherest her chickens under her wings, and ye would not. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of YHVH.”
I, too, felt His despair on my trip to Jerusalem in 2006. It wasn’t what I expected. Churches were built over the places where my Savior suffered, shrines, even idols to his memory. The path He took to the cross was not uphill as historically described, it was downhill. Only because the original way to Golgotha was buried beneath 21 feet of 2,000 years of civilization, but it didn’t stop the money changers from their promotions; or the Muslims, who control that part of Jerusalem, from boarding up many of the historical sites.
And when Helena, the mother of Roman Emperor Constantine, authenticated where my Savior was crucified on Golgotha, she leveled the site and the Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches rushed to build shrines over what they believed to be the site of the crucifixion, where He was prepared for burial, and the tomb given by Joseph of Arimathaea. The Greek Orthodox church won the race; the Catholics built a building attached to the Greek Orthodox church. Both made Helena a saint. But they turned these holy places into idols, gaudy relics of religion parked upon it, devoid of spiritual significance, reminiscent of the white sepulchers of which He once spoke, beautiful on the outside, but dead bones within.
I grieved in my spirit of what man has done to His honor. But there was yet another stop along the way. The actual place of the skull, Golgotha, a killing place not 100 yards from where Helena claimed my Savior was buried. A garden tomb. A peaceful place. A place also once owned by Joseph of Arimathaea. A place where the stone was more likely rolled away. And there was joy in my heart. For my Lord and Savior Yeshua Ha Mashiach revealed to me that it really makes no difference what man has done to the relics of the past; or what arguments can be made about history, or idols or religious religion. The important thing to remember, above all else, is: The tomb is empty because our Messiah is risen! Rejoice!
By Bill Wilson