The day after we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, we went to the Garden Tomb. It is an interesting contrast to the Holy Sepulchre: it is outside of the Old City of Jerusalem, it is a beautiful garden, and it is run by Protestants. 😉
Our guide was a pastor from the Anglican church in England. The first thing he did when we arrived was sat us down across from the place where Golgotha may have been and preached the Gospel to us. It was delightful. He told us that the people who run the Garden Tomb are not claiming that this IS the spot where Jesus was crucified and buried, but that it could have been, and that, at the very least, it looks a lot like what it must have looked like at the time. In this garden was a very old wine press (now restored), from about Jesus’ time, and tombs carved out of rock. It is thought that someone wealthy owned the tombs because they are so big, and they would be for the whole family. That would be consistent with the Gospel account of Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent wealthy Jewish man, giving his tomb to Jesus.
After our talk with the guide, we got to walk around for some time, then came back together to have a little Divine Service with Pastor Matt. My daughter, Rachel, was confirmed during the service, and we received the Lord’s Supper. Rachel got her first taste of Christ’s body and blood. It was a beautiful morning together.