Attempting to capture the essence of the Holy Land has been an incredible challenge. We have tried to show the land in all its color and diversity. First, we wanted to tell the story of Jesus' life by showing the places where events are recalled from His ministry. Second, we wanted to show the incredible contrasts and beauty of the landscape, Finally, we wanted to help visitors recall the important facts about each site. This book is not in geographical order, but rather follows the basic accepted chronology of the life of Jesus. In order to make the logic of the sites clearer, we have imposed the life of Jesus over the table of contents (page 3) for easy reference. We have also included many popular places that having nothing to do with the life of Jesus but which were simply nearby the sites of the Jesus story. In this way we were able to include Akko, Haifa and the other interesting places which give a more accurate picture of what a visit to this land entails.
Many sites include a time line which puts a date on the most important structure built on the site. Small symbols identify which religious groups (Jewish, Christian, Moslem) hold the place sacred or remember significant events there. We have included meaningful sites for Christians of different traditions, and included all of the popular sites from the gospels.
Several maps of the "land of Jesus" were created to make the story easier to follow (pp. 30,78). In order to make this an easy reference source for those touring the land, the beginning of the book includes a brief historical chart, while a list of the Bible passages for each site is placed at the end. This book is made up of new photographs taken just for this work. Many show the changes to the holy sites, including recent renovations at places like the Holy Sepulchre and St. Peter en Gallicantu.
We believe that this book is a special blend of the story of the ministry of our Lord mixed with the sites that recall His work. This theme, interwoven with other locations from the land of the Bible, adds a rich, new understanding to the meaning of the work of Jesus of Nazareth. We trust it will also bring back many pleasant memories for those who visited the lands of the Bible.
Dr. Randall D. Smith, Director Christian Travel Study Programs Jerusalem