Israel-Jordan Study Tour - Eric Schrotenboer

Jun 16-29, 2014

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Galilee

We started the day with a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee. Eric spoke about the story of Peter in the storm when he gets out of the boat to follow Jesus. Eric approached the story with the mindset of not why did Peter get out of the boat, but why didn’t the rest of them follow Jesus as well. We should be following our rabbi so closely that we are following his every step. Jesus asks us to follow him, but many times we say we can’t. If we want to be like Christ we have to get out of the boat.

Once we got across to the west side of the lake Eric and Meredith told us we had “a nice little hike” up Mount Arbel. We arrived at the top all sweaty, but once you climbed over those last couple of rocks the view was worth it. Looking from the top of the mountains it is always incredible to me to see all of God’s handiwork displayed. Eric spoke again and one thing that stood out to me was the example of in Revelation 8:1-4 how even the heavens stop worshiping when God’s people prayed. It talks about the angels bringing God’s peoples prayers and all of heaven was silent. He talked about how people have come to the top to pray for thousands of years. There is a high chance Jesus would have gone to the top as a desolate place to pray, since he was known to be in that area, and there we were.

At the end Eric told us to spread out and gave us 10 minutes to pray. I went out to the edge and sat overlooking the mountains and the Sea of Galilee, and we sat in absolute silence and poured our hearts out to Christ. Towards the end of my prayer, I started to get sidetracked and sleepy, so I opened my eyes, and I was taken aback again by the beauty of the view before me. It was a teaching moment for myself, that how easily we get sidetracked by the world, how easily we forget the beauty of God right in front of us, but the whole time He is just standing there waiting for us to open our eyes.
We next went to the three cities that Jesus spent the majority of his time in, also known as the triangle. We walked around Bethsaida, Chorazim, and Capernaum and learned about how life would have been in these cities. We heard Eric speak and imagined Jesus being there. We learned that they would have lived with all of their family, aunts, uncles, and grandparents together in one house, and it was displayed to us as an example of community and how the church should look. We went in the synagogue at Capernaum and saw the Moses Seat where Jesus would have sat before he spoke. It was a powerful image. The synagogue there was found with the biggest school attached and Eric painted the picture of Jesus living in a college town, sitting around discussing theology with the students. This was a cool picture for me to see as a college student myself.

We ended the day at the city of Hippos, which was the smallest city of the Decapolis. We sat overlooking the mountains and the city of Gerasenes and Eric spoke on the story of Mark 5:1-20. He spoke to us about the symbolism between the Roman legions and the Roman mascot of the boar, and how Jesus spent so much effort to save this one man. The man was unclean in many ways to the Jews, yet Jesus healed him. It is a good example of how to not let your rules of society and religion get in the way of your heart for others. No one is too lost, or too much of an outcast to be found again. When Jesus got into the boat to leave, the man begged to go with him, but Jesus said “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” The next time that Jesus came back to this area, the people were waiting and excited to see him, all because of one mans story. This man’s life became his testimony and the town was changed because of his story. It was a simple sweet reminder of so many things we should be doing as Christ followers.
We came back to the hotel and had time for one last swim in the Sea of Galilee. We watched the sunset over the mountains and the sea, and then ate dinner together as a community.

I am excited to see what these last few days have in store for us, and what Christ is doing!
Shalom, Allie

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