For Indonesians, tourist visas to Israel are only available for group travel through travel agencies for pilgrimage purposes. It’s not easy to get a visa, because the two countries maintain no formal diplomatic ties.
I always wanted to visit Israel.
Then, that opportunity came.
Tobias had to give a workshop on grant writing there.
So, we combined his business trip with a bit of sightseeing in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
I got my visa via the Israeli consulate in Germany, and entered Israel smoothly.
Last week, we spent 9 days in Jerusalem, Shefayim, and Tel Aviv.
::: IMPERFECT YET CHOSEN
I was excited. I got to see the place where Jesus did His final ministry, and Israel today.
First, we explored Jerusalem. We arrived on Friday evening, just when the Shabbat starts. So, we went to the Western Wall had the chance to see the recitation of special Friday evening prayers known as Kabbalat Shabbat, the joyous Jewish ritual of welcoming the Sabbath.
The following days we explored the Old City of Jerusalem. We walked through the markets, and historical spots.
The weather unfortunately was unpleasant, cold, rainy and windy. But, the people were super friendly and helpful.
When we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, many pilgrims from across the globe were queuing to touch the burial bed and to see the tomb of Jesus Christ.
I was tired and I sat on rocky stairs while. Tobias continued taking pictures. As I silently watched the crowd, a thought came to my mind, “what’s so special about Israel that You awarded them a special place in Your plan, and called them the chosen one?”
My heart whispered, “same like you, Titien, imperfect but I chose you.”
My tears flowed.
::: FROM “IF” TO “WHY”
We also visited the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. It’s so huge, that we spent hours exploring it. Its holdings include the world’s most comprehensive collections of the archaeology of the Holy Land, and Jewish Art and Life, as well as significant and extensive holdings in the Fine Arts.
Looking at those displays of historical findings and some ancient manuscript. I wondered why many people are still questioning Jesus Christ. I found the Bible is keeping up with the history.
Maybe it’s time to stop asking if Jesus Christ was died on the cross and risen, and to start asking why.
::: RIGHTEOUS BECAUSE REDEEMED
In Tel Aviv, we met our Jewish friend and his family. He is not religious at all. But in conversations (I forgot what topic we’re talking about), twice he referred Abraham as ‘their father’. Apparently Abraham is father of the faith, for Jews, Christians and Muslims.
I remembered a story, which I think you know it too.
5000 years ago, at Mount Moriah, Abraham offered his only son as a sacrifice to God, and God stopped him in the nick of time, and held back his hand and said “Stop! I Myself will provide.”
2000 years ago God kept that promise.
At that same mount, He took His son, Jesus Christ, and this time He didn’t stop it.
This story reminds me of how faithful God is, and how precious His gift is, the gift of forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Other religions tell us that either we will pay with karma,
or that our good deeds will have to outweigh our bad deeds to enter an eternal kingdom.
Jesus Christ said, “If any man comes unto Me, I will in no way cast him out. And if he confess his sins, I AM faithful and just to forgive him his sins, and cleanse him from all unrighteousness.”
::: I’M CONVINCED THERE’S NO INCONSISTENCY
During dinner at Shefayim kibbutz, Tobias’s colleague asked me what leads me to believe in Christ. I shared to her my experience 2.5 years ago in my hospital bed, where I encountered God. I told her that I am convinced with whom I believe, that Christ is the truth.
I had difficulty speaking because of the tumor in my brain, and we only had a short time, so I didn’t share all that much.
I tell you why I’m convinced.
The Bible is composed of 66 books by 40 different writers over 1,500 years, yet it has one consistent storyline running all the way through, and pointing to the same person, Jesus Christ. Unique, isn’t it?
From the prophetic schema in the Old Testament, where He was going to be born, what He was going to do, what His name was going to be called, how was the manner of life He was going to lead, how He was going to die and then the resurrection from the dead.
And in the New Testament, the exclusivity of His claim, the embrace that He gives to all humanity, the perfection of His life, the purity of His life, the death and resurrection.
To me, it’s a great miracle!
How did people 1500 years apart collude on these thing?
Thus, I’m convinced!
Because the demonstration of His birth, life, death and resurrection is coherent,
and because I have personally verified it in my own life.
::: LAWS DON’T FIX FLAWS
We went also to Yad Vashem, the world holocaust remembrance center. I got to know more about the history of the holocaust, and it’s universal dimensions. Watching those documentations left me deeply empathic for the Jewish people, and hoping for a more ethical future for humanity as a whole.
The Holocaust is perhaps the darkest chapter in human history. Approximately 6 million Jews were killed in mass shootings and concentration camps.
Sadly, times may change, but people don’t. The slaughter, the killing, the torture, the hate, the destruction targeting particular groups for their ethnicity, religion or political beliefs is still happening in many parts of the world. It’s 20th Century, and our world is a horrible, troubled place.
We will keep killing one another for land, for possessions, for power and for prestige, and gain what?
Many youngsters know how to hate; and simply don’t know how or why to love.
Although there are so many laws in society and in religions, but what did they do?
They don’t reduce chaos.
They can only educate and inform,
but they can never change a human heart.
I now understand why Jesus Christ gave us not one, but two laws that summarize all the laws in Scripture.
“Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.””
Mark 12:29-31 NLT
Love is the only root for peace.
Unless our heart is transformed, we will determine ourselves in power, in control and in domination.
Our world needs to realize God’s greatest love, and His forgiveness which is able to change our heart, and help us then to desire and love the law.
Only God is big enough to do that.
And it requires us surrendering our heart to Him.
I thank You for loving whoever is reading this now and me.
We need Your forgiveness.
We need Your salvation.
Lord Jesus, enter into our heart.
Change us, fill us with Your presence.
Help us to follow You,
to love You,
and to love not only our friends, but also our enemies, as ourselves.
This moment, we commit our life to You.
In Jesus name, I pray, amen.
““For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 NLT
“For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.””
Romans 10:13 NLT
::: UPDATE ABOUT ME
2 Years 9 Months Post Biopsy
Midline Pontine Glioblastoma/DIPG Grade IV
On February 19th, I received the 26th round of Avastin.
I will receive the 27th round of Avastin on March 5th.
Next Monday, on February 24th, I am scheduled to do an additional MRI.
My symptoms are pretty much the same, but intenser with head pressure, weaker arms, difficulty in pronouncing words, difficulty with walking.
Please go to “My Medical History” for more details.
Thanks for keeping me in your prayers 🙏
PS: Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing my posts.
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