I just got back from my second trip to Israel, but to be honest, it felt like the first time.
That’s what I love about Israel – it’s like no other place on earth.
I’ve heard it said Israel is the one place in the world where you can be deeply and inexplicably changed just by setting foot on the soil.
As Christians, our entire faith and being rests on the people and nation of Israel. All 66 books of the Bible – written by Jews. Our Messiah and Savior – a Jew.
This may be breaking news to every denomination today but nonetheless it’s true. We’re grafted in (literally grown into) the Jewish faith.
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.
(Read all of Romans 11 for more.)
The Jewish faith has no obligation to Christianity, but Christianity is deeply indebted to and supported by the Jewish faith.
These truths and more will come alive on your trip to the Holy Land, just like they did for me on my trip with Israel Collective.
1. The Bible will come to life.
From visiting a synagogue that Jesus most likely (99.9%) taught in to visiting Mount Zion to seeing the exact view that King David saw had when he wrote these words:
Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the LORD surrounds his people
both now and forevermore.
2. Your eyes and heart will be opened.
You may leave with more questions than answers (and that’s okay, actually a good thing), but you will see your relationship with God and people deepen in a unique way that will make you want to devour God’s Word and search with passion and wonder.
Walking in the Garden of Gethsemane shattered the way I’d pictured it my entire life. Growing up on a horse farm in Ohio, I thought of a luscious, green garden with a blanket of green vegetation for Jesus to softly fall onto when He prayed drops of blood – not so. Olive trees are tough, the ground desertlike.
You will experience the Bible in 4-d.
3. You will fall in love with the Jewish people – from their love of family to their incredible food.
What better way to get to know Jesus than get to know His people. Yes, some things have changed, but some have not. Jesus was all about family and eating with the outcasts — that hasn’t changed for many Jewish people. I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced a more welcoming and family-centered culture, especially in how they observe and celebrate Sabbath.
You have to do Friday and Saturday in Jerusalem at the Western Wall and eat Shabbat dinner with a Jewish family consuming as much hummus as you can – also Israel has the best wine (and grape juice, no joke) in the world.
4. You will look forward to Messiah coming.
For the sake of our Jewish brothers and sisters, let’s leave the mystery of whether this will be His first or second time coming, as we joked a few times on my trip, but seriously test your knowledge of the Bible and let God give you an expectant heart.
You will see the very gate in person that our Messiah will enter when He comes!
Choose revelation. Choose praise and worship. Choose thankfulness before you even go on your trip.
5. Your trip will not be enough.
You will see Tel Aviv, the leading city for technology and innovation in the world and Jerusalem, the city where God said He literally placed His Name to dwell forevermore.
If you are open to experiencing the mysteries of God firsthand, through His people and land, you will want to go back just like I do as I write this post. You will not be able to tell people enough about how it changed you.
And you will tell everyone they need to go.
Opportunities for Christians to go to Israel:
As a Christian college student, I googled a “free trip to Israel,” and found all of them were for Jewish students. Thankfully for you and me, that’s not the case. (But it’s well worth paying for a trip!)
The first and most accessible one is to check with your home church, and check out other churches to see if they have an annual trip, and a lot of major ministries take people every year like a few of these (Dr. David Jeremiah, Kay Arthur, Jentezen Franklin, etc.)
For students and young professionals, there are a few opportunities that I’m aware of, but if you can, definitely study abroad. (Immerse yourself in the country.) Get involved in Christians United for Israel on Campus (That’s how I went on my first trip as a college student in 2012), the Zionist Organization of America (my sister went on this trip). The Philos Project, I had a few friends go on this trip and highly recommend it. And follow Israel Collective, for sure!
Let me know in the comments if you know of any other ways. (I might make a completely separate post about this because it can be a challenge and it’s been on my heart.)
Don’t delay. Start planning today. (Sorry for sounding like a lame infomercial.)
Write it down. (“I want to go on a trip to Israel.”)
Pray over it.
Tell someone. Talk to someone who’s gone before. Ask questions.
Go. Enjoy every second. Come back and share…Then go again.