It was a sacred moment where a dear sister shared her broken heart with our group in Israel. In this historic place of Caesarea Philippi, the place known as the Gates of Hell, she shard her pain as well as praise for the One who is carrying her through it.
There has been one storm after another that has brought extreme loss and an uncertainty in this sister’s life. Yet in the midst of raging waves she declared that she has been wed to Christ and He has never let her go. I could imagine Jesus shouting out to this lady, as He did to Peter, “…on this Rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it,” (Mt. 16:18).
Like Peter this tenacious woman led by the Holy Spirit declared Jesus as her Rock, her Savior who is “Christ, the Son of the living God,” (vs. 16). Right there in the shadow of the Gates of hades we had church. In fact throughout our time in Israel we had “church!”
There were many tears on our trip, honest confession, and a deep realization of our brokenness and need for a Divine Savior. One of the ways I like to define the church or gather of God’s people is,
Broken people being transformed into sons and daughter of the King who shout His glory!
So many in our group had experienced severe brokenness in their lives yet this led them to deeper encounters with Jesus, the Rock. And when broken people live on the Rock they become living stones infused by the love of the Triune God. As Peter says we become:
“…a spiritual house…a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light,” (1 Pet. 2:5, 9-10).
We boldly declared our victory over the Gates of Hades our last day at the Garden Tomb by sharing in the Family meal. As this group had fast become a family in just 10 days there was powerful joy as Pastor Bryan and I served communion. Jesus truly set a table before us in the presence of our enemies and anointed our heads with the joy of Heaven’s Spirit. There in the midst of busy Jerusalem a Holy Community of broken people were being raised up in the resurrection power of King Jesus as blessed son and daughter of the King!
This is the church Jesus is building out of our brokenness one that will crash the gates of Hell. Find a church of honest broken people who will build on the Rock and bring Him glory alone!