Posted in Banchory, Beatitudes, Bethlehem, Capernaum, Church, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Galilee, Garden of Gethsemane, Herodion, Holy Land, Israel, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Mensa Christi, Mount of Olives, Mount of Temptation, Mount Zion, Music, Nazareth, Pilgrimage, Pool of Bethesda, Sepphoris, Video, Western Wall on August 16, 2009|
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I had an operation on my wrist last week, and find that the restricted movement that has been imposed upon me for the next 10 days means I’m looking for things I can do without causing too much pain. I decided video editing was a safe thing to do – use one hand, point and click. Okay there have been a few moments when I’ve forgotten and tried to hold a button down, but the sharp pain up my arm reminds me it’s not the thing to do! Anyway, I’ve put together a short video of my trip to Israel and include it here to give you a flavour not only of the trip, but also of the sights and sounds of land.
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We travelled via the Wadi Kelt (Qelt) to Jericho stopping off at the Mount of Temptation, before continuing north to Tiberius.
The Mount of Temptation is where Jesus spent forty days and forty night fasting and meditating; where he was tempted by the devil – and where he took up his ministry. The mountain; which from early Christian times has been called the Mount of Temptation was referred to as “Mons Quarantana” by the Crusaders in the first half of the 12th century, and is locally known as Gebel Qurantal (from Quaranta meaning forty, the number of days in the Gospel account of Christ’s fast).
Monastery of St George at Mount of Temptation
The Monastery of St. George, clings to the edge of the mount. The monastery was founded in 480 CE by John of Thebes and was later named for St George of Koziba who stayed there in the 6th century. It is said to be built next to the cave where the prophet Elijah stopped en route from Sinai and was fed by ravens. Numerous caves are visible in the ravine and over the years hermits lived here in imitation of the great prophet. We were told it was unlikely that we would gain entry to the monastery, now under the care of six Greek Orthodox Monks, and we didn’t.
Jordan Valley from Mount of Temptation
The journey up the Mount of Temptation was done by cable car. The ride is 1330 meters long and the view of the Jordan Valley below is stunning, with the Nebo mountain of Jordan in the background. The monastery itself is also worth a photo session because of its location carved into the hillside with its little caves carved out for individual monks. As you stand near the top the view really is awe-inspiring. Standing high above the Jordan Valley, you really do think that you can see the world spread out before you. And it was not difficult to imagine the temptation Jesus faced when presented with the choice between power over the nations or the plans God had in store.
It was my turn to read the Scripture – Matthew 4:1-11, and afterwards I thought about how we tell people that Jesus is the answer to all our struggles, and yet in this reading we see him struggling with the things he faced. And then it dawns: he is the answer to our struggles because he’s been there before us and as he finds the way for himself he finds the way for us as well. We see this truth at the very beginning of his ministry – temptation can be overcome (in Jesus case the temptation to abuse power or mix with the wrong crowd).
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