For Christians, few travel opportunities are as meaningful as the chance to visit Israel and follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Even those who do not consider themselves Christians can enjoy the ancient history and stories behind these moving sites.
Within the city of Jerusalem are many sites that relate to the life of Jesus, especially those where events occurred during the final week of his earthly life.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
This church stands on the ground that is believed to be the crucifixion site and his burial tomb. Construction on the church began in AD 326, and it is a beautiful place to meditate upon the suffering and death of the Savior. A rock outcropping stands within the interior of the church that is believed to be the spot where the cross stood as Jesus died.
Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives is an important location in Bible history with the Garden of Gethsemane at its base. Walk where Jesus walked and prayed for the strength to endure his upcoming trials. Pray in the place where the apostles fell asleep waiting. An ancient olive grove contains trees that could be over 1,000 years old, though it is unlikely that they are those Christ touched since the Romans burnt the grove in AD 70.
Modern Nazareth would be unrecognizable to those who lived in it as a small town during Jesus’ time. The sprawling city now boasts over 60,000 inhabitants, and it can be difficult to connect it to the modest boyhood home of Jesus. As the location where Jesus spent his childhood and young adult life learning to be a carpenter, the sweeping views available in the countryside near Nazareth remain similar to those he would have enjoyed. Visitors can see the cliffs that synagogue members threatened to throw Jesus from when he preached that he was the Messiah.
No other location is mentioned more in the Bible than the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus preached, drove out demons, and challenged his apostles to walk on water. Measuring approximately 90 square miles, this body of water is surrounded by traditional sites of the calling of the apostles, Jesus’ third post resurrection appearance, and the feeding of the 5,000. Walk through these historic sites before watching a spectacular sunset over the water. Close by is Cana, where Jesus performed his first miracle, turning water into wine. (We tasted the wine during our visit there. It was very sweet.)