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Looking for Jesus in Israel

Looking for Jesus in Israel

I found my journal on the bookcase last night between James Herriot’s, Dog Stories and Margaret Sidney’s, Five Little Peppers And How They Grew.  My journal begins on September 7th, 1978  in Paris, France, and ends on December 29th, 1978 in Kibbutz Reshafim, Israel.

My Journal from 1978

An entry from my Journal:

December 23, 1978

I saw so many things today, so much history dancing before my eyes. Or more like I walked past it, it was already there. Mount Moriah, on top of which is The Dome of The Rock.  Abraham prepares Isaac for the sacrifice on Moriah. Mohammed ascends to heaven from Rock.

Also saw Mosque of El Alsa. Actually saw a lot of stuff.  St Anne’s Church where Virgin Mary’s parents lived, saw grotto where Mary was born. Also saw The Pool of Bethesda, N.T. (John 5:2). Saw Mary’s tomb and The Grotto of Gethsemane – where Jesus would gather with his followers.

I am just listing places,nothing really has made me feel for the stone. Always buildings on top of places.

Then- to the Garden of Gethsemane. Where the passion began. Jesus decided – thought about dying. Decided to die. I even got a leaf from the olive trees there. The trees are the same ones Jesus stood by.*

It seems we followed Jesus through the day. Where he spoke, lived, where he was betrayed. Then down the Via Delorosa; the 14 stages of Jesus’ walk. The last five within The Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

I stood on The Hill of Golgotha, touched the stone. Have seen so many crosses with Jesus nailed to them.  And this time the cross was where it should have been. 

Went in to see the rock where Jesus was laid after He was taken from the cross. 

I touched the Rock of Golgotha at the top.

I lit two candles and kept a third.  I forgot my candle at the theater tonight, where we saw the movie Straight Time with Dustin Hoffman. I remembered I forgot the candle when I decided to write about it in here. 

I forgot that I saw a movie on December 23rd, 1978. Dustin Hoffman was in the movie, he didn’t watch it with us. I don’t even remember what the movie was about.

I have never forgotten touching the Rock of Golgotha.

I came to Israel looking for Jesus.

I found him.


There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Luke 23:38-43

Looking for Jesus In Israel

 Are you looking for Jesus? Have you found him?


About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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  • I found Jesus when I was 40 years old, after I had roundly rejected him and his lame church. I found him because a man, long dead, had written a book called “Surprised by Joy,” which convinced me that I too was a Christian. I found him because I was challenged to read the gospels, and then I realized, “So it is true. He is the Christ.”

    • Kathleen, thank you for telling me when you found Jesus. A writer wrote a book, which you read.The writer could tell you about Jesus even after he was dead, because of the book. I want to read it too. And I want to write.

    • Janelle

      Loved that book. What a treasure of words from him.

  • Kim Barrett

    Interesting when I read Janelle’s comment because when I thought of Dec. 23, 1978 I was thinking I had just celebrated my 23rd birthday the day before. It was to be the first Christmas after my Mom was killed in a plane crash. I had started my search for Jesus( though I didn’t surrender my life to Him until later) but even then He had already found me. His plan for my salvation already in place. His love so personal He knew my name.

    • He knows your name and how many hairs are on your head. I am so sorry Kim to hear that your Mom was killed. Sending you a hug.

  • Amy Rudd

    I have been thinking about Jesus’ death a lot since the reading of the gospel on Sunday. Your post is another reminder of the sacrifice…I also find it ironic that I am reading this at 3pm on Good Friday…thank you for the reminder of why he did what he did…

  • Patricia Holloway

    You have written a touching, heartfelt memory. How special that day was and still holds in your heart.

  • Janelle

    I was fifteen when you were in Israel. Jesus walked the hallways of my crazy high school with me. He was my friend through lonely lunch hours. He held my hand as I passed the students necking in the dark stair wells, walked into unfriendly classrooms, and watched former school friends slip away into drugs and alcohol and sex. I would like an olive leaf from gethsemane. I’d like to walk those steps and touch those things one day.

    • Janelle, Jesus walked with you. I love your description of your high school days. I would have sat with you at lunch. We would have been best friends.
      If I still had my leaf I would mail it to you.