As we enter into the Christmas season, I want to take two-three articles to challenge you to consider a Christmas gift for yourself or someone you love – a trip to Israel! In a March 2022 survey, conducted by Jerusalem Post, only 7% of American Christians have visited the Holy Land. Another 40% would be extremely interested if given the chance.
I’d like to give you the chance! Allow me to share with you four quick reasons you should seriously consider taking a personal trip to Israel:
- A personal experience fills in the gaps left by “book education.” If you doubt the validity of this, consider this thought experiment. Given two options, and all things being equal, which one would you choose and why? Option 1: 50 new books from today’s brightest scholars on the culture and geography of Israel, complete with surveys of each chapter; or, 2) a trip to Israel for 10-11 days. The 10 days seeing it with your own eyes will far outweigh the life-change brought about from reading about it.
- A personal experience provides clarity and perspective as you read, teach, or preach through a text. We are taught the importance of placing a text within its proper historical and grammatical context. It’s just as valuable to understand its cultural and geographical context.
- A personal experience strengthens your faith. As you survey the mountains and hills, the rivers, the caves, the ruins…as you stand within the gardens of Gethsemane or ascend upon the Mount of Olives…as you observe the place that may well represent the resting place Jesus used for three days and three nights – these become powerful aids to your faith. We do not believe because we have seen – that’s the opposite of faith. However, what we have believed becomes even more affirmed by what we see. To walk where Jesus walked, to stand where He performed miracles, to sit upon a boat on the Sea of Galilee – these are life-changing, faith-building moments.
- A personal experience confirms God’s past faithfulness to His promises. As you observe the land where terrorism, war, and turmoil has been the norm – you will also see a nation that has been providentially preserved by Almighty God. Humanly (and militarily) speaking, it’s extremely difficult to explain why all the enemies of Israel with their combined strength have been unable to eradicate the Jewish people. The biblical answer is rooted all the way back in the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12. When you see their longing for peace, for a “son of David,” and their desire to dwell in their land by divine right – you will marvel as you consider, “This is the Lord’s doing.”
Perhaps you have just recently trusted Christ, or you have been a believer for half a century. Regardless of where you are on your journey, I’ve never met a person who regretted making the investment to see Israel. You’ve read about the Land, you’ve heard about the Land – why not go see the Land! Come see it with me!