Sharing God’s Love
But Jesus would not allow it. “Go home to your own people,” Jesus said “and tell them what the Lord has done for you and how he has shown you mercy.” The man went away and began to proclaim in the Ten Cities all that Jesus had done for him, and everyone was amazed. Mark 5:19-20
After a very rainy night there was a nice break in the showers and we enjoyed devotional time by the Sea of Galilee. This was perfect to start our day of learning about Jesus’s life around Galilee. We know that many times we feel safe and secure in our environments, our friendships or our cliques of people. We have to remember what Jesus said in Mark 5:19-20, that we are to go and share our faith in a way that draws people to the cross.
Our first stop today was at Chorazin, a Jewish village that was built during the time of Jesus. It was on the north western side of the Sea of Galilee though not on the water. My personal takeaway from this site was that God wants us to seek him, we should be focused on our time with the Lord whether we are doing daily prayers or heading to church. The synagogue always had many steps leading into them they were uneven, steep and many times hard to climb. The reason for this was because God wants us to focus on him and be purposeful in our pursuit of him.
The synagogue at Chorazin is a typical “Galilean” style synagogue. These synagogues are characterized by 1) a basilical shape with three hallways separated by two rows of pillars; 2) three doorways and the central one is the largest; 3) benches around the interior walls; 4) a stylobate to support the weight of the arches.
Our next stop was the Mount of Beatitudes. The sermon on the mount was Jesus reassuring the Jewish people that he had come to fulfill the laws and the prophecies of the Torah (Old Testament). The church at this location was built in the 1930’s and is run by Franciscan Nuns.
Jesus gives us the Beatitudes:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
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 was Tabgha on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Here we talked about Jesus speaking with the disciples after the resurrection. John 21:15 tells the experience of Jesus and John and how Jesus tells him to go be disciples, fishers of men, and share our faith with everyone. How do you “do” life? Does it reflect a godly life and purpose so you can be a fisher of men?
Two miles west of Capernaum is what Josephus referred to as the “well of Capernaum.” Undoubtedly a popular fishing spot of the locals because of its famous “seven springs,” Heptapegon (today the name has been corrupted to Tabgha) is the traditional location for several episodes in Jesus’ ministry.
Our final stop before lunch was Capernaum; the Town of Jesus. This was likely a wealthy town of 1500 people based on the archeological finds. Their primary source of income was tax collection since it was on a main trade route going North to South. Jesus lived here when he was in his 30’s; prior he lived in Nazareth. Capernaum was the home of his ministry. There is still the remains of the synagogue that was on-site when Jesus lived there. They also found Peter’s home; archeologists found writings that praised the name of Jesus. Jesus likely lived there over the years when in Capernaum. Jesus calls us to care for others and to never lose sight of the needs of the people around us.
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.
We did make a special stop for lunch today. Instead of picnic style lunch we enjoyed falafel’s from a wonderful roadside cafe. YUM!
We headed to Mount Arbel which overlooks the Sea of Galilee for a post lunch hike. This is where Jesus went to look for solitude and to hear his fathers voice. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is time to be silent and a time to speak. Spiritual growth happens in many ways, though the solitude and time spent seeking the word of the Lord is necessary in our growth. What are you doing in your life to seek solitude and time with God?
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.
Our final adventure of the day was to visit the Ancient Galilee Boat that is on display in a museum. It was discovered in 1986 and was carefully excavated. It is dated back to around the beginning of the 1st century. We departed from the museum via boat and sailed across the Sea of Galilee to dinner and our hotel. It was a beautiful sunset.
Shalom means more than Hello or Goodbye; Shalom means peace with God and peace with the surroundings and circumstances of life. Shalom to all of you at home reading this recap of our day!