— Ray Crooks is a Church of God (Holiness) minister who lives in El Dorado Springs, Missouri.
Leaving the Jerusalem temple compound area containing the Muslim mosque, El Aqusa, and the beautiful memorial in the center of the square, the Dome of the Rock, I walked up and down the street called the Via Dolorosa. Passing the Fortress Antonia where part of Jesus’ trial took place, I continued down the narrow, cobblestone street toward the massive Damascus Gate, passing dozens of little shops on either side. No vehicles were seen there, but Jews, Arabs, and tourists jammed the street, making even walking slow.
After passing through the gate, which still stands tall and proud much like the Crusaders built it hundreds of years ago, I left the old city of Jerusalem behind. Just across the road from the gate I started up a wider street, crowded not with pedestrians but with sightseeing busses for tourists. Just a couple of blocks from the Damascus Gate, I turned up a dead-end street toward the destination I had dreamed for many years I would one day get to see.
To the left, down a few steps, a path led to a rectangular hole in a rock wall about a hundred feet away. That opening was pointed out as the entrance to the tomb, so I began to walk slowly toward it. There was no special decoration; no blaring speaker announcing the world-shaking event that took place here. Not even a big sign to declare the merits of the garden, the wall, or the tomb.
It was then, as I approached the opening, that I saw it. Ahead was a simple little sign to the left of the walk — I would have to get close to read the small lettering. When I could finally read the message on the sign it was as though an archangel himself spoke directly to me.
The little sign by the side of the pathway simply declared, “He is not here. He is risen, as He said.”