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In The Garden Tomb

It was my first visit to Jerusalem, and I went to the Garden Tomb. The Garden Tomb is the place believed by many to be the place where they laid the dead body of Jesus after the Crucifixion. It's little more than a stone's throw from Golgotha, also called Calvary, the hill where it is believed the Crucifixion of Jesus took place. You can see from a distance the distinct impression of a skull in the rocky side of the hill and I took note of that. It's unmistakable. And then down around the side, there is a garden area and the tomb where Jesus was placed after his death.

I saw Golgotha, and spent some time imagining what happened there almost 2,000 years ago. Then I went to the Garden Tomb nearby. I wasn't sure I wanted to go inside, to me it was one of the holiest places on earth and I felt unworthy to touch it. But I decided to go in. I wanted to see everything and anything that pertained to my Lord and all He accomplished when He came to this earth. It was a bit dark in there, but I could clearly see the slab where the Body had been placed. I looked around and took it all in.

But then, suddenly, something began to happen to me. Inexplicably, I began to tremble deep inside my body. Then this feeling came over me that's hard to describe, except to say it was one of the most intense feelings of joy that I have ever felt in my life. It took me by surprise and seemed odd to me, because I was standing in a dark tomb, yet feeling this intense joy completely envelop me. I was stunned. I didn't know what was happening to me. I was a bit fearful because this was such an incomparable experience happening there in that dark place.

As I stood there in wonder, I heard words. The Lord Himself spoke to me, which alone could have been the cause of this intense joy I was experiencing. But the words I heard that day deep within me were words I will remember till the day I leave this earth, so profoundly did they impact me:

"Paula, this is not a place of death," I so distinctly heard within, "this is the place of RESURRECTION!"

I was so stunned I was reeling, and it took me a bit of time until I was able to look at those words and understand the great meaning imparted to me that day. I have meditated on those words time and time again throughout the following years, knowing that that day was to me one of the most meaningful days of my time on earth.

In the ages to come, it will be known to all that there was one day on earth greater than any other day past, present, or future, and that was the day that Jesus Christ obtained the eternal victory over death and the grave, and rose gloriously out of that tomb. It is the Resurrection from the dead that sets Him apart from any other person deemed "holy" in this world, past, present, or future. No other religion has a Savior who overcame death and promised his believers that "whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." (John 11:26)

When I came to the Lord in my prayer time this morning, tears began to flow as I relived that day in my mind. I wept as I brought Him a heart filled with thanksgiving for the wonder of the atonement and the victory over death, hell, and the grave. It's overwhelming to me to consider that he would reveal these things to me, I who am the least among the many, and that's certainly the truth. But as I savored the events that happened that morning in the Garden Tomb, and all that it means, I was moved to share it with you, if for no other reason than that you would focus on what believers are supposedly "celebrating" today, in the profoundness and depth of all that was accomplished that morning so long ago.

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