The Hinnom Valley – Redeemed Just Like You

Jerusalem's infamous valley reminds us nobody is too far gone for God.

Some people, it seems, are too far gone. We pray for them for years, but they still refuse to walk with God. After so long a time, we feel it’s hopeless. But Jerusalem’s Hinnom Valley gives us reason to hope.

The Hinnom Valley - Redeemed Just Like You

(Photo: The Hinnom Valley curves around Jerusalem’s southern side. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Some places in Jerusalem are as infamous as others are famous. The Hinnom Valley is such a site. It represented a place where evil atrocities occurred. Like, really evil.

One of the best places to see the Hinnom Valley is from a balcony in the southwest corner of the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. Inevitably while I stand there, I think of King Manasseh and the horrific acts he committed in the area before my eyes.

The infamous valley reminds me of more than Manasseh. It also represents my redemption.

And yours.

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Good Friday Gives Your Shame a Choice

Understand the choice between sin's penalty and sin's remedy.

Good Friday wasn’t so good for Judas. The guilt-ridden betrayer of Jesus hung himself and then fell headlong, spilling his innards. Hence, the residents later named the place where it happened, “Akeldema,” or “Field of Blood” (Acts 1:18-19).

Judas may have chosen this place to die for a specific reason.

Good Friday Gives Your Shame a Choice

(Photo: Monastery of St Onuphrius, traditional Akeldema, courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Today, the peaceful Monastery of St. Onuphrius at Akeldema offers no clue to the fact that Judas killed himself at that site—nor does it reveal the Hinnom Valley’s sordid history.

  • Horrific atrocities occurred in the Hinnom Valley during the days of Judah’s kings (2 Chronicles 33:6; Jeremiah 7:31).
  • In Jesus’ day, the city dump lay in this gorge. Some suggest that fires continually burned the trash, and so Jesus used the smoldering landfill of Gehenna as an illustration of hell’s eternal flames (Mark 9:43).

Because Jesus compared the Hinnom Valley to hell, one has to wonder if this is the reason Judas’s desperate regret led him to end his life in this ravine.

Like Judas, you have failed. But Judas’ shame doesn’t have to be yours.

Good Friday gives your shame a choice.

Peter shows us why.

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Places of the Passion Week in 360-Degrees

Between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday Jesus spent every day in Jerusalem. The places of the Passion Week where He taught, died, and rose again are now traveled by Christian pilgrims.

Places of the Passion Week in 360-Degrees

(Photo: Sunrise over Jerusalem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Last week I shared some 360-degree images from 11 various sites in Israel. This week I’m including some panoramic images I took from sites in Jerusalem—specifically, those that connect with the Passion Week of Jesus.

Just click on the images and drag right or left to look around!

The Mount of Olives from Dominus Flevit

Jesus began the Passion Week on Palm Sunday, descending the Mount of Olives on the back of a donkey—presenting Himself to Israel as their Messiah (Dan. 9:25; Zech. 9:9, 16; Matt. 21).

The site of the Dominus Flevit Church remembers the point where Jesus paused and wept over Jerusalem, knowing the leaders would reject Him and His offer of the kingdom.

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Yes, You Failed—But God is Not Done with You

I stood waist-deep in the Jordan River, waiting for the man I was about to baptize. He made his way slowly into the current, stopped in front of me, and looked me in the eye. “Are you sure I can be baptized?”

“What do you mean, Don?” I asked him. He had tears in his eyes.

Yes, You Failed—But God is Not Finished with You

(Photo: Jordan River baptismal site Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

With a trembling voice, this man in his sixties confessed to me a terrible sin he committed many years ago. He waited for my answer.

I’ll never forget that moment.

Let me ask you. If you could pick one event in your life you could go back and do it over, which would it be? If you’re like me, it would be tough to choose just one. We’ve all done things that have left us in deep regret. We mourn them like a death.

And while we can’t change the past, we also can’t ignore it.

Nor do we need to.

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