Saturday, May 20, 2017

Tanya Marshall  

Pilgrimage Reflection:  The Pit and the Ancient Steps

 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled.  (Matthew 26:57)

During our pilgrimage in Israel, we saw many sites where different Biblical stories may have occurred.  Often churches were built at these places, commemorating the event.  Sometimes in and around these churches we were shown ruins of ancient buildings, thought to be from the time of Christ or earlier.

One such site was the supposed location of the high priest, Caiaphas’ home, where Peter denied Jesus three times.  There are caves and rooms deep underneath that were probably servants’ quarters, and dungeons used to hold prisoners.  It is speculated Jesus would likely have been held down there overnight in this story of his questioning by Caiaphas and the elders prior to the crucifixion.  Jesus may have been in this very “pit” that we saw.

Just outside it, we were shown ancient steps going up a hill, grass growing in and around them.  We were told Jesus was most likely led or dragged up or down those very steps.  Though we were not allowed to walk on them, I saw a stray cat walking up the steps.  I’m not sure why the cat touched my heart, but it did.  Anyway, these spots – the pit and these steps – are images I’ll not forget.  They remind me of the pain and agony Jesus endured in his last few days, all for our sake, to offer us forgiveness and eternal life.

Prayer:  “For me, dear Jesus, was your incarnation,
              Your mortal sorrow, and your life’s oblation,
              Your death of anguish and your bitter passion,
              For my salvation.

              Therefore, dear Jesus, since I cannot pay you,
      I do adore you, and will ever praise you,
        Think on your pity and your love unswerving,
              Not my deserving.”
        (From hymn, Ah, Holy Jesus)


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