Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Lord is Risen!

He is risen, indeed.
Sunrise over Madaba

View from Mt. Nebo looking East

We rose bright and early at 4:30 am for a beautiful sunrise Easter service on the summit of Mt. Nebo, overlooking the Jordan Valley below and Israel beyond.  The kids, amazingly, awoke with sweet, happy smiles.  The view was spectacular, especially since the usual haze of late had mostly lifted. At the foot of Mt. Nebo is the geographical area referred to as the "Plains of Moab," the final Transjordan camping place of the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land to conquer Jericho (which can be seen directly across the valley).  The Plains of Moab are mentioned in Numbers 22ff, when the Moabites out of fear of the Israelites "hired" the prophet Balaam to put a curse on them.  Interestingly, some texts of Balaam son of Beor were found at the nearby site Deir-Alla.  You can read more about that here.  It was also on these plains where Moab seduced Israel into worshiping Baal and brought the Lord's punishment; and it was on these plains that God, via Moses, gave the Israelites one last "pep talk" and instructions for what they were to do upon entering the Promised Land (more discussion on the Promised Land in future posts--stay tuned!).  So much rich, interesting history to ponder while gazing at this landscape!
Plains of Moab: the flat, green area in the center of photo

People still camp out in the Plains to this day!

In the service, the message partially discussed the bronze snake of Numbers 21:4-9 as related to John 3:14-15.  Such a simple yet powerful and relevant story...To state it breifly: The Israelites behaved badly (sin), were punished (snake bites leading to death), repented, and were offered redemption (life!) if they looked in faith upon the bronze snake which Moses lifted up on a pole.  We, similarly, have behaved badly (sin), face punishment (death, both physical and spiritual), but if we repent are offered redemption (eternal life!) if we look in faith upon Jesus, who was lifted up on a tree when He died to pay the penalty for our sin.  To quote John: "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life."  Imagine if, way back then, someone was fatally bitten by a venomous snake, and had a chance to live, but needlessly died because they did not want to look at the exalted bronze serpent...How tragic!  Imagine if, today, we have a chance to live, but needlessly die because we do not want to look at the exalted Jesus...How tragic, indeed!
Jack, painting eggs

so pretty!

We had a fun egg hunt

The Easter basket I wove for Jack out of palm fronds
Happy Easter!


  1. What a great place to be to celebrate Christ's Resurrection. Your blog will educate me very much in all things Biblical History. Hope your day was wonderful.

  2. Thank you so much Angela! Beautiful! I especially like Jack's Easter basket. I hope to read and see more of your time over there! Blessings on yours and Owen's Eastertide.

  3. You wove him an Easter basket out of palm fronds? That's awesome.It looks great!

    I miss Easter sunrise services.