From mountaintop to mountaintop…
This was an exciting day, because we have fully transitioned from the Old Testament and the desert time of the children of Israel, up to the New Testament stories in the Galilee. We began our day with a devotion at a spot near Susita (Hippos). We heard about Jesus crossing the Sea of Galilee with an appointment to meet with a demoniac. That one appointment changed the lives of thousands of souls in that region (not to mention the lives of 2,000 pigs), as Jesus delivered that man from a horrible existence being demon possessed.
We then spent time reading through the Sermon on the Mount at the traditional site for the Mount of Beatitudes. We then went down to Tabgha, a beautiful site on the beach; a place where it is likely Jesus commissioned (and later re-commissioned) His disciples. We learned what it means to be a Talmidim (a disciple) of Jesus.
Mount of Beatitudes
The so-called “Sermon on the Mount” is recorded in Matthew 5-7 and Luke 6. The alleged discrepancy between Matthew’s version being on a hill and Luke’s being on a level place is easily reconciled with observation of many level places on the Galilean hillsides. Scripture gives no indication of the exact location of this event, but the Byzantines built a church to commemorate it at the bottom of the hill. Some of Napoleon’s men placed it on the nearby Arbel mountain.
Our next stop took us to Capernaum. This was the center of operations for the ministry of Jesus. Some interesting archeological discoveries were here, accompanied by a great discussion of the humanity of Jesus.
Jesus made Capernaum his home during the years of his ministry: “Leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum” (Matt 4:13).
Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishermen living in the village. Matthew the tax collector also dwelt here.
Capernaum is one of the three cities cursed by Jesus for its lack of faith.
After this we saw Chorazin, a second century town that showed us a great example of what a synagogue looked like, as well as the architecture of “Insula” on display. “In my father’s house are many rooms”, makes much more sense now, that we see how it looks in first century life.
We ended our day on top of Mt. Arbel—which had a breathtaking view of all the Sea of Galilee. We were able to gaze over all the spots we visited today. And then headed back to the Kibbutz Ma’agan, to experience a baptism of two young men in our group.
What a perfect way to end another amazing day!
Please continue to pray and follow our updates!
Josh & Jeff
Mount Arbel (Hebrew: הר ארבל, Har Arbel) is a mountain in The Lower Galilee near Tiberias in Israel, with high cliffs, views of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, trails to a cave-fortress, and ruins of an ancient synagogue. Mt. Arbel sits across from Mount Nitai; their cliffs were created as a result of the Jordan Rift Valley and the geological faults that produced the valleys.
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