The Garden Tomb
Nothing compares to taking communion while sitting on the benches in the picturesque setting of the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. Considered by many Protestants to be where Jesus was buried and arose, the atmosphere here reaches deep into the soul.
Some people bring instruments and quietly sing hymns like “Amazing Grace” with a reverence and emotion that make it impossible not to join in and praise the Savior who conquered death and arose from the grave.
The tomb itself, unearthed in 1867, is carved out of the side of a rock hill located beneath Gordon’s Calvary. Since 1894, the Garden Tomb and its surrounding gardens have been maintained by The Garden Tomb (Jerusalem) Association as a place for Christians to worship.
The association refrains from claiming that this is the authentic tomb of Jesus, but guides point out many similarities between the site and the descriptions in the Bible. Though others claim the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the location of the Lord’s crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, the Garden Tomb seems more evocative of the events described in the Gospels.
Guests enter a room apparently designed for people to be able to weep over their departed loved one. To the right of the entrance is the burial chamber where the deceased’s body would lie. The entire location feels like the Lord’s empty tomb, which the Bible describes as a “new tomb” that was “hewn out of the rock” (Mt. 27:60). There is no evidence this tomb was ever used.
The Garden Tomb area is beautiful, tranquil, and quiet. Many touring groups take communion there and recall Christ’s words to His disciples at the Last Supper before He went to the cross: “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me’” (Lk. 22:19).
After Jesus’ death, Joseph of Arimathea secured His body from Pontius Pilate, “wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed” (Mt. 27:59–60). Three days later, the stone that sealed the tomb had been rolled away; and the chamber was empty. The Lord had risen from the grave. We serve a living Savior who is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven and who someday will come again.
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