Walking around the walls of Old Jerusalem to begin our exploration of Jesus' trial, crucifixion and resurrection, we came to the Sheep Gate, later known as Stephen's Gate and, during the reign of Sultan Suleiman, the Lion's Gate. Stephen was led out through this gate to his death. The city is still crammed with Passover pilgrims, including Ethiopian Jews wearing flowing white garments, their heads covered in vividly colored scarfs. For 4th and 5th century Byzantine pilgrims their travels to the Holy Land were extremely hazardous. The two month journey cost a year's wages and involved crossing seas thick with pirates and the prospect of facing Bedouin and Arab bandits when travelling overland from Joppa to Jerusalem. These pilgrims created processions to remember Biblical events but they were often fictionalized, as is the Via Dolorosa. The Pools of Bethesda however are real and they remain. The Romans destroyed Bethesda's five pools in 70 AD. During the second Jewish revolt from 132-135 AD they erected a pagan temple dedicated to a god of healing over the pool site. In 1099 the Crusaders built a church dedicated to beit thesda - 'The House of Mercy'. The Muslim conqueror Saladin spared the Crusader church dedicated to Saint Anne. We sat next to that sanctuary opposite the pools and read from John chapters 5 and 9. At Bethesda Jesus cured a crippled man but the Pharisees could only complain about the man carrying his mat on the Sabbath. At Siloam a blind man healed by Jesus on the Sabbath grows to know Jesus - first as a man, then as a prophet sent from God, as the Son of Man and finally as the Lord whom He worshipped. We went inside Saint Anne's church to worship. The sanctuary is not symmetrical because the Crusader architects wanted the world to know that only God is truly perfect. We sat in silence as a group of Christians sang God's praises amidst incredible acoustics. Trekking through the Arab markets in the Muslim quarter we entered the Praetorium in what had once been the Antonia Fortress. Here Jesus was condemned by Pilate and led out to be crucified "Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, 'Behold the Man!'" (John 19:5)Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches believe the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the crucifixion site. When we reached the Church it was closed. (Ironically the Muslim community holds the church key and has the authority to lock the door). The Romans always had crucifixion sites situated at major gates. The condemned person was stripped and flogged with a cruel ball bearing laden leather lash after which the criminal received back their clothing to carry the cross beam to the place of crucifixion. There they were stripped again and nailed to the cross. Jesus' cross was a place of unspeakable horror and undeserved healing. 'He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; "by his wounds you have been healed." (1 Peter 2:24) Brutalized and betrayed Jesus made an end of our sin. Through faith in him we receive God's forgiveness and a fresh start. We are more sinful than we ever imagined and more loved than we ever dreamed. After eating lunch at a stylish Armenian restaurant we walked to the Garden Tomb. Rob Watson from the UK retold the salvation story as we sat surrounded by Golgotha before us and a beautiful garden behind. The empty tomb, unlike others nearby, has a burial chamber on the right, the same direction the wondering women looked (Mark 16:5). The angels asked the women, 'Why do you look for the living among the dead? (Luke 24:5) Both the angels and Jesus asked Mary Magdalene, 'Why are you crying?' (John 20:13; 15) Why are you looking? Why are you crying? Death to Life! Sorrow to Joy! What more can we say? Thank you Jesus!