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The Triumph of Christ

Posted by on Jul 29, 2020 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

My wife, Nancy, and I worked our way down the narrow, noisy, twisting, congested street in Jerusalem known as the Via Dolorosa, or “The Way of Sorrows.” This is the route that tradition says Jesus followed, carrying His cross through the streets of Jerusalem and eventually winding up at the “place of the skull”—Golgotha. Looking at it today, however, the route looks more like the Way of the Moneychangers. Instead of the jeering and weeping crowds that Jesus would’ve seen on either side of the Way, we saw lots and lots of vendors hawking their wares—everything from Chicago Cubs T-shirts to all kinds of artwork, including the sketch of four rabbi’s crossing a street like the Beatles on Abbey Road. It’s as if all of the moneychangers that Jesus drove out the Temple decided to set up shop on...

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Pilate Stones and Jesus Rocks

Posted by on Apr 29, 2020 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

I can’t read Latin, and many of the letters had crumbled away, but the name etched into thelimestone was still obvious to me. The second line on the stone clearly said, “Pilatus,” as in Pontius Pilate, prefect of Judea. Outside of the Bible and other writings that mention Pilate, this stone provided the first concrete evidence (or “limestone evidence”) that Pontius Pilate, the man who condemned Jesus to death, walked this earth. My wife and I saw a replica of this “Pilate Stone” when we came to what remains of Caesarea Maritima, perched on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It was our first day in Israel, and the jet-lag had yet to strike as we picked our way across the archaeological site beneath a sky as blue as the water. The remains of the city shone a brilliant...

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He Who Has Ears!

Posted by on Mar 6, 2020 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

The Sea of Galilee looked like a sheet of ruffled blue fabric, as our small group found places to sit along the shore, nestled in among some rocks. The area where we sat is known as Tabgha, two miles south of Jesus’s base in Capernaum. That afternoon, with the water beside us, our group leader taught from Scripture, and we experienced the beautiful sound quality on the Sea of Galilee. We were only a group of a couple dozen people. But when Jesus did His preaching along these same shores, He sometimes spoke to massive crowds numbering in the thousands. Which raises the question: How did Jesus preach to so many people at once without the aid of today’s microphones? In the 1970s, a lay archaeologist, B. Cobbey Crisler, and a sound engineer, Mark Miles, decided to explore the...

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Mary Magdalene’s Giant Leap

Posted by on Nov 6, 2019 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

Hanging in the hallway leading down to our basement is the front page of a Chicago Tribune, dated July 21, 1969. The headline: “GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND.” This year, the United States celebrates 50 years since that incredible day when Neil Armstrong stepped on the lunar surface and announced, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Having majored in journalism, I collect famous front pages of newspapers. But if someone were to ask me what was the greatest news headline ever, I wouldn’t say the moon landing…or the victory over Germany in World War II…or the fall of the Berlin Wall. If someone asked me what the greatest headline of all time might be, I’d go with the news delivered by Mary Magdalene. Okay, so Mary Magdalene wasn’t a reporter in the traditional sense....

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The Jerusalem Model: A Legoland for Bible Geeks

Posted by on Jul 24, 2019 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

“It’s better than Legoland.” I heard someone make this comment while viewing a massive model depicting what the city of Jerusalem looked like in the first century. My wife and I were having a grand time exploring this huge, sprawling model—about the size of two tennis courts—at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. I’d have to agree that the model of first-century Jerusalem is far better than Legos, and this is coming from a grown man who still loves his Legos. My office has a Lego train running through it, along with all kinds of Lego buildings. The Jerusalem model, built to a scale of 1:50, was created in the early 1960s, commissioned by Hans Kroch, owner of the Holyland Hotel. For years, the model was featured on the grounds of the hotel, but it was moved to the beautiful...

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A Tale of Two Tombs

Posted by on Apr 29, 2019 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

Our tour group gathered beneath a canopy at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, listening to our guide on a beautiful, shirt-sleeve day. To one side, we could hear the singing of another church group gathered near the tomb, and to the other side was the cacophony of the city—traffic horns and the constant rumble of construction machinery. Although we often think of Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, as being isolated from the bustle of the city, the Romans had a way of crucifying people along busy roads. That way, more people would see what happens when you go against the Empire. So, the noise of Jerusalem surrounding the Garden Tomb was actually more in line with the way it might have been. As our guide continued to talk, a nearby loudspeaker, mounted on a pole, began blasting an Islamic...

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