Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Holy Land Pilgrimage – Lessons from Caesarea

Note: In January my wife and I joined a group of other pastors and their spouses and made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It was a very moving experience. I kept a running journal of the experience so that I could reflect on the experience after I returned. This post is part of a series of blogs I have written to convey what I sensed while on this life changing trip. You can read about the entire trip in a devotional book called "Touching the Footprints of Jesus."

The first full day my wife and I were in Israel we visited the town of Caesarea. Many important events happened in Caesarea and we spent quite a bit of time there. One of the things that stood out in my mind while there was the sad ending of what started as an amazing project. Herod the Great build a fabulous palace on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. Even though all that is left now is ruins, visitors can still grasp the greatness that it once was. But it was also in that same spot that Herod’s grandson, Agrippa, allowed his followers to say that he looked like god. Immediately after which, the true God allowed Agrippa to be fatally stricken with worms (Acts 12), which was probably Fournier’s Gangrene. It was a powerful reminder to me that though we may seek to build something great in our lives, we must always give the honor and glory to the Lord. When we take it for ourselves, we may find the results are not as great as we had hoped, they might even be disastrous.

The second thing that stood out in my mind on that trip to Caesarea was a group of Jewish school children who were touring the same site. It is an important site in Jewish history as well and that particular spot is a familiar field trip for local school children. What struck me was that some of the chaperons were armed with rifles. They carried them over their shoulder as if it was the most normal thing to carry a loaded weapon on a school field trip. That would be unthinkable in the United States, yet was normal in that context. On other days I often saw men with handguns tucked into their belts. In Jerusalem itself it was common to see multiple soldiers with machines guns patrolling the narrow streets. Considering that school children on a field trip needed to be guarded by armed chaperons further reinforced the idea that things that start out great, such as a palace, can turn out not so great. It was also a powerful reminder to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and ask God to keep His chosen people safe. Lord, hear our prayer.


  1. It is a reminder, everything of this world appart from Christ will come to destruction. Awesome post. I am looking forward to reading more about your trip.

  2. Hard to imagine chaperones on school field trips with guns. That's not how we do it in the good old USA.

  3. Well, if the Texas legislature proceeds with their plans, you may just see that in the future.