Our 2019 GPBC Israel crew has arrived. I always have such a great sense of excitement and anticipation for our time in Israel. It’s different than any other kind of trip. Why bother?
1. Christians go to Israel because of the incarnation. In Genesis God promised Abraham a land, a people, and a blessing; those three promises are related. It was through the people of Israel, in the land we call Israel, that Jesus the Messiah came to provide blessing to all the families of the earth. It was in Israel that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
Central to the claims of Christianity is the literal intervention of God in time and space. Walking where Jesus walked affirms that our faith is rational and reasonable. The events we read about in the Scriptures aren’t myth or merely tradition; they really happened.
2. Christians go to Israel because of the Bible. I’ve said it many times, and I’m sure I’m not the first. Seeing the primary land of the Bible takes the Bible from analog to high definition. Important aspects of geography, culture, and history come to life.
This is becoming more and more crucial as Bible literacy in our culture continues to decline. Locating Megiddo on a map is one thing, understanding why the pivotal battle of the end times will happen there is another. Sure David hid out at Ein Gedi. Why? Seeing Israel opens the doors of the world of the Bible to us, and helps us to bridge the gap of centuries as we listen to God speak.
3. Christians go to Israel because of faith. These trips are not merely academic exercises. In a mysterious way, God has designed the universe so that the physical and spiritual worlds are linked. So we see the stars and we give him glory. So the eternal Word, the Son of God became man and walked with us.
When we see the land of Israel, our faith is strengthened. This will happen at different places for different people, but it will happen. Maybe it will happen as you stand on the Mt. of Olives, or sit in a garden at Gethsemane, or ride across waves on the Sea of Galilee. It will happen.
For these three reasons (and there are many more!) Christians who travel to Israel mature as disciples of Jesus Christ. The truth is, they’ll never be the same.
Our early crew today got to see the Elah Valle where David faced off against Goliath and tel Azekah. The later crew arrived safely, and after dinner and some freshening up after many hours of flying, we will hit the ground running tomorrow.