Holy Land Tour Reflections Part 1: The Miracles
- Saturday, April 15, 2017
- By Ion Gonzaga
- 0 Comments
The places we visited in the Holy Land reminded me about everything Jesus did during his time on earth. It's surreal to be in the place where he physically lived and walked the talk more than two thousand years ago.
Word count: 1,058 | Average reading time: 3 min 51 seconds
Sa bus pa lang, seeing the signages of Jerusalem on the road gave me goosebumps already. I only read these places in the scriptures and I just found myself standing above its soil. Indescribable feeling it is.
We spent 8 days of pilgrimage slash tour in Jordan, Palestine (Jericho) and Israel. Pilgrimage is a walk with God. The purpose of the journey, aside from seeing the sights as a tourist, is to trace our faith as a believer founded through our rich biblical history.
As we commemorate the significance of every site, I offered prayers and I had reflections.
There are three key aspects in the life of Jesus in which I had reflections during the tour - his ministry, agony and miracles. In this first part (of 3), I'll share how I was reminded about his miracles which continuously create impact in my life.
There can be miracles.
At the church of Cana, I remembered Jesus’ first ever miracle - when he turned water into wine at the wedding feast.
As I watched our friends make their lovely renewal of vows, I thought, had Jesus not turned the water into wine, the wedding feast would have stopped. And, of all the events Jesus can begin to show his miracles, he did it in a wedding. Do marriages really turn out bad that we need miracles? Well that just says, indeed, God can work out miracles in marriages.
We also had an hour of good boat ride in the Sea of Galilee. The water was calm and the weather's great for sailing that morning. It was one of those two places so peaceful and serene when we visited - the other was the Mountain of Happiness, where Jesus preached the beautitudes.
Anchor's up, we heartily sang the Philippine and Indian national anthems as our flags raised. As we praise and worship and danced into beautiful and upbeat Christian music - some Hillsong and Hebrew ones, with tears in my eyes, the times in my life when God transformed my sorrows and fears into joy, all flashed back. This is the sea where Jesus walked over the water, and where he woke up from sleep to calm the storm. This is where Peter's faith was tested. Can you imagine how it feels being afloat on the sea that witnessed it all?
The shore, the vicinity are the sites where he fed a crowd of 5000 with only 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread, and another 4000 by multiplying 7 loaves of bread and few small fishes. Galilee is where Jesus did most of his ministry.
In the story, when he was about to feed the crowd, Jesus asked his disciples to find if there's anyone who brought anything to eat. Only one boy has. He brought 2 fishes and 5 loaves of bread, and he offered that 'kiddie meal' to Jesus. Jesus then prayed, and he multiplied them to feed all of 5000 men plus women and children. It was a happy tummy ending, and the disciples even gathered 12 basketfull of leftovers. (Matthew 14:13-21)
Did you notice that Jesus didn't create the feast from nothing? He had to ask for anyone to offer him ANY amount of food. He needed to have a measly fish and loaves of bread in order to multiply into thousands, in fact, more than what was needed.
I see a tremendous similiarity in our spiritual lives. God is not a genie who provides something from nothing. He requires us to offer whatever we have in order for him to perform miracles in our lives. No matter how little it is, if we offer it to him, he could give us more than we can ask for or imagine. How loving God is indeed, that he's only waiting for us to submit and he will do it for us.
There was a time in my life when I was asking for a breakthrough in my personal finance. In the beginning, I was stressing myself with pressure, trying to carry everything on my shoulder. Later on I realized I haven't really praying the right way. After an intimate prayer, I submit everything to Him. As the feeling becomes lighter, I started seeing directions that eventually lead me to the answer to my woes.
Here's a video slideshow of Day 6 of the tour with a glimpse of the sea of Galilee:
On expecting (instant) miracles...
A number of friends asked me to pray for their problems while I was in Holy Land, because apparently, 'I am in Holy Land and I'm closer to God.'
Yes, I did pray for everyone. But NO, being in Holy Land don't make me or anyone closer to God. It is definitely a privilege to see the place and feel his presence there in a highly spiritual perspective. It is also truly a different experience to be praying and talking to God in the land where he sent his son Jesus Christ.
Being close(r) to our Lord is not determined by geographical location. If we have a good relationship with Him, wherever in the world we may be, we can talk to him and we can hear him. Fact is, there are more people around the world who could definitely be into better relationship with the Lord than me who was in Jerusalem.
Being in the Holy Land is not a guarantee that our prayers will have miraculous answers instantly. God provides for our needs in his perfect time. Just look at how many prayers God has already answered in our lives. We can rely on that. Our faith is our vehicle to God.
In James it says, "Draw near to Him (in spirit) and He will draw near to us."
And just like in any other trips, we took home some traditional souvenir items. In addition, everyone in our group definitely have packed heavy loads of takeaways but we did not over baggage - because we carried those souvenirs in our hearts - the messages of wisdom and nourishment of the spirit.
The amazing camaraderie of this CFC Jebel Ali group is also one of the best takeaway from this trip.
In the next blog posts, I will be sharing about my reflections on his ministry and his agony. I will also be writing about how beautiful the places are from a travelers perspective.