The Land of Jesus, Part 2


In the September 1991 issue, we featured photographs of places in Jesus’ life from his birth to his early Galilean ministry. In this issue, we cover other sites prominent in Jesus’ life—and death.

For example, the road to the New Testament city of Jericho, was the setting for Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan.

Jesus was familiar with the road and with the city, for Luke tells us that “Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.

“And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

“And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.

“And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

“And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.

“And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully” (Luke 19:1–6).

Rising above the Jezreel Valley in lower Galilee, Mount Tabor, may have been the site of the transfiguration of Christ. It fits Matthew’s description of a “high mountain apart.” (See Matt. 17:1–2.)

Following a 1979 visit to the mountain, President Spencer W. Kimball said, “I feel this might have been the spot where Jesus had taken his three disciples, Peter, James, and John, to this high mountain apart, and there had given certain blessings.”

Jesus often admonished his disciples to develop the faith and trust of a little child. On one occasion he said, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3).

For centuries, olive oil has been used for ordinations, for healings, for lighting, and as a base for perfumes. In biblical days, oil was processed from olives by crushing them under a revolving stone wheel in a press similar to this one found at Capernaum.

The thorns and thistles common today in the Holy Land were well known in the Savior’s time. He referred to them in his teachings (see Matt. 7:16; Matt. 13:7), and he was to suffer the pain and indignity of having a crown of thorns placed on his head (see Matt. 27:29).

Prior to the mockery of his trial, Jesus had gone to the Mount of Olives “unto a place called Gethsemane,” where he “kneeled down, and prayed, … and his sweat was as it were great of blood falling down to the ground.” (See Matt. 26:36; Luke 22:41, 44.) The actual site of the Atonement is unknown, but tradition identifies it with a garden of olive trees located approximately 230 meters from the east wall of Jerusalem.

Following his trial, Jesus was taken “unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. … And they crucified him” (Mark 15:22, 25). The traditional site of Jesus’ crucifixion is this rocky hill located north of the old city of Jerusalem.

“Now in the place where he [Jesus] was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus” (John 19:41–42).

The traditional Garden Tomb is located immediately west of Golgotha. Hewn from rock, the tomb is comprised of two small chambers—one in which mourning relatives could gather, and the other in which a “bed” was cut where the body was laid.

The entrance to such tombs was sealed with a large stone “wheel” that was rolled into place in a groove cut into the ground. It was the stone in front of Jesus’ tomb that the chief priests sought to have sealed.

“The chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, … Command … that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead. … Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch” (Matt. 27:62–66).

“When the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. … And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great” (Mark 16:1, 3–4).

“They entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:3–6).

The stone that was to seal the mortal body of Jesus in the tomb was rolled aside and became an unforgettable symbol of the Savior’s resurrection.

[photos] Photography by Don Thorpe

[photos] Photography by William A. Schaefermeyer

[photos] Photography by William Floyd Holdman

[photo] Photography by Lamar C. Berrett