Israel Study Tour with The Kings University

October 27 - November 8, 2016

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Holding Nothing Back

Day 8 began with Libby leading devotions with a beautiful parable teaching the value of giving our everything to God. With so many hikes behind us (and ahead of us), it was a timely reminder both physically and spiritually to hold nothing back on this trip.

We loaded the bus with anticipation, once again being led in rabbinical fashion without a specified destination. Arriving in the Roman region of Decapolis, we ventured through an impressive Roman city and came to a lookout overlooking the Sea of Galilee. From this place Rod made Luke 8 - the story of Jesus and the man of the Gadarenes - come alive.

To arrive at this location, Jesus had to take his disciples by boat across the Sea of Galilee, as he often did. In the same way Jonah had fallen asleep in the boat in a storm, was woken by his shipmates, and eventually brought revival to an unclean people, also Jesus fell asleep with his disciples in a storm, was woken by his shipmates, and having crossed the water, sparked revival in an unclean people through the man of the Gadarenes.

We were challenged to consider how seemingly far gone this man appeared, and yet was transformed in a moment by Jesus. We left this sight by prayerfully putting rocks onto an altar to represent specific people in our lives who seem too far gone for God to touch.

Leaving Decapolis, we moved on to the Golan heights, the land of zealots. Here we learned about the clash of Rome with the proverbial pebble in their sandal, the zealots. From this movement came Josephus, a former general in the zealot army. Through a story showing uncanny resemblance to Joseph and his dream interpretation, he wound up becoming one of the most important historians of all time.

Our final portion of the day took us up into the point of the Syrian and Lebanon border. As we drew closer to these borders, there was a noticeable shift in the scenery: more military vehicles, official UN vehicles, heavily protected border fences, and fields with land mine warnings. All previous days we've been studying conflicts between Israel and their enemies, and today we drove up to the border of Israel's modern enemies.

Our destination in this region was Caesarea Philippi. Rod and Libby led us on our final hike of the day up a hill to overlook that area. From this point, he told us the story of Matthew 16. Peter declares that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and Jesus tells him that upon this rock He will build His church! All of this, overlooking the center for worship of the god Pan and what Rome believed was the gate of Hades.

After yet another powerful teaching from Rod and Libby, we made our first early departure back to our hotel in celebration of Shabbat Shalom.

- Jared Neusch

Caesarea Philippi

This abundant water supply has made the area very fertile and attractive for religious worship. Numerous temples were built at this city in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

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