Israel Study Tour - The Forge (Pine Cove)

Mar 8-20, 2014

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Reflecting Jesus

By: Laura Snyder

When devotions beside the Sea of Galilee was accentuated by a piercing rainbow, I knew it was going to be, as Matt often says, a big day! When the bus ride back to the hotel was bookended by a perfect double rainbow across the Jordan River, the only appropriate thought was, “A big day indeed!” From Mt Arbel to Capernaum, this was a day full of history, culture, and movement. Through every site, a steady theme emerged: “Who is your Rabbi?”

Bunga asked us this morning as that rainbow shown overhead through an overcast sky, “What is the object of your faith?” What do I put my trust in? Where is my energy channeled? Matt has stated before, “Show me your fears and I’ll show you your faith.” What we fear reflects where our faith is laid just as a mirror reflects back to us the viewer. We reflect the object of our faith.

At Mt. Arbel, Cierra began weaving together an understanding of first century rabbinical education. Boys began Bet Zepher at age 5 where they memorized the entire Torah. From there they went through years of reading, training, and application. Only the best of this process would continue on to Midrash. From there it was only the highest scholars that could hope to be a Talmid and become a disciple. After careful observation, a Talmid would select a Rabbi to follow. This choice was incredibly vital not because they would be learning from this teacher constantly, but because they were declaring, “I will become like you!” In essence they would become a reflection of the Rabbi they chose to follow.

Tabgha, our second stop along the Sea of Galilee, hosted an unprecedented first. As I just stated above, only the very best scholars became disciples. Aside from that, they selected the Rabbi they would follow. Peter was a fisherman, a tradesman who had failed to perform on a superior scholarly level. He was a fisherman who never seemed able to catch fish. In Matthew 4:18-19 we see Jesus walking along the shore. He sees Peter and calls to him, “Follow me.” Matt asked us why Jesus chooses Peter. It isn’t because of his scholarly ability or his work as a fisherman. It isn’t even because of his lack of brokenness. He is chosen not because he’s Peter but because of who Jesus is. Jesus speaks into Peter who he will become. He sees in him the future reflection of the greatest Rabbi in all of Eternity.

After a delicious lunch of falafel and the best birthday rap there has ever been, we made our way to the Mountain of Beatitudes. This beautiful hilltop surrounded by wheat, flowers, and the sounds of nature was the setting for Matthew 5-7. Matt stated it perfectly, “This was Jesus’ inaugural speech.” There was a new kingdom being founded, a new administration if you will, and this was a declaration of what was to come. He was painting the picture for His reign, explaining the policies of this new rule, and laying out the availability of His Kingdom. This would be the basis for all of Christ’s teaching on earth.

Capernaum, the base for Jesus ministry and our last stop for the day, brought everything together for me. The main question Bunga asked was, “Do you believe that Jesus has ultimate authority?” This was one of three cities where Jesus did the majority of his miracles and ministry. He is not only claiming to be a Rabbi, He is claiming Godhead. It was near the place we listened to Bunga that Jesus had first claimed Isaiah 61, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me…” It was in this town that He healed the Centurion’s servant in Matthew 8. It was here that Jesus walked through the streets proclaiming the good news and casting out demons through all four of the gospel accounts. He had chosen Capernaum as His earthly dwelling, and its very atmosphere began to change with His presence. The mute were talking, the crippled were walking, and the spiritually dead were being revived. His dwelling place began reflecting His presence, and, slowly but surely, His disciples began reflecting their Rabbi.

As I write this I am hit with such conviction. Matt asked us to remember the moment Jesus called us from our “vocation” saying, “Come, Follow me!” I remember the place vividly: a rectangular conference room in Colorado when I was 17. He chose me as a disciple. He has given me the command, “Follow me. Begin reflecting your Rabbi.” There are moments when I see a glimmer of his reflection looking back at me from the mirror, but on can I say I am reflecting my Rabbi constantly? Who is my Rabbi? Is it really Jesus? Do I trust Him more than I trust my back up plan? Do I desire to please Him more than I desire the approval of my family? Do I put Him above even the dearest relationship in my life? I so desperately want the answer to be yes! I want to say that every moment of my life points back to my Rabbi! I want HIM to be reflected in every interaction I have. But I cannot honestly say it’s true.

A rainbow is a reflection of light through water droplets. This reflection creates a prism of light in the form of a multicolored arc across the sky. It’s basically rain reflecting the sun. If Jesus is our Rabbi and we are His disciples think of it like this: He is the light (John 8:12) and we are the water droplets. Water droplets on their own are clear, nothing of beauty but ready to reflect. As His grace is poured over us and transformation takes place, beauty is reflected through us. Jesus speaks of us in Matthew 5:14-16 saying, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to the whole house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and GIVE GLORY TO THE FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN.” We reflect our Rabbi. Who is my Rabbi? My prayer is that Jesus would become my light source, my Rabbi, more and more. Israel is exposing my lack, and Christ is daily covering that lack in abundant grace!

Who is your Rabbi?

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.... #forgeisrael

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Hiking the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount••Matthew 5 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Vs. 6

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"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed him." Matthew 4:19-20. Jesus called Peter here... #forgeisrael

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"What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing praise with my mind also." 1 Corinthians 14:15. Grateful for you, C. Thanks for continually reminding me who I am and Whose I am. Love you a lot. #forgeisrael

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Mount of Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Such an amazing and busy day today around the Sea of Galilee! We hiked to & prayed at Mt. Arbel, walked along the shoreline where Jesus called Peter, read the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus taught it, and walked & studied the Word of God in Jesus' hometown of Capernaum! To say this was one of the most incredible days of my life would be an understatement. #forgeisrael

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