It was our last stop and the climax of our 10-day tour of Israel; the Garden Tomb. Our escort through the beautiful garden grounds was a white haired man with a British accent, named Alistair. He led us along the stone path, through the well maintained trees, flowers and shrubs. I had forgotten the site of the tomb where Jesus was buried was so peaceful. Just outside the tall stone walls traffic and people hurried to their destinations. But inside the garden, a calm slowness could be felt. The spacious grounds held small areas tucked away for prayer and reflection.
On past trips I was always anxious to hurry to the main attraction, the highlight of the trip and one of the proofs that Jesus rose from the dead – the empty tomb. But this time, our group walked to the slower pace of our elderly guide. He led us to a shaded spot with a straight view of the rock cliff that looked like a skull, called Golgotha.
With his endearing accent, he told us the story of how Jesus was beaten and crucified on the cliff we were looking at. It was appropriate to see the barren rock, and hear the terrible story before heading to the resurrection site.
When he was finished, he allowed time for the group to take pictures and ask questions. He had a great smile and even at the end of the day had so much joy and passion in his storytelling, we were drawn in.
He said he lived England, but after he retired he and his wife saved their money and every year flew to Israel for three months where he volunteered at the Garden Tomb. He said it was the best job in the world, because he had the privilege and honor of telling group after group the amazing story of our Savior, and how He willingly died a brutal death, but that death could not hold him. Because as we would see in a minute, the tomb that was owned by Joseph of Arimathea centuries ago, was indeed empty.
How many times had he told the story? He lost count years ago. Yet, even this time his eyes filled with tears as he talked about His Savior.
I was jealous with joy for him, because he really did have the best job in the world.
Happy Resurrection Day!