DAY 5 – THURSDAY, JUNE 14: ARBEL, MAGDALA, CHORAZIM, CAPERNAUM, SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE, YARDENIT, MT. OF BEATITUDES
Today was a day for primarily focusing on the life and ministry of Jesus. We spent the entire day around and even on the Sea of Galilee. It was also a day that was back to a normal June weather day here in Israel, with full sun and highs in the 90s.
Our first experience was Mt. Arbel. About 35 climbed to the top (800+ foot ascent), while others bussed around and approached the top from the other side. Among the hikers was an 84 year old named John. Incredible effort! On top we could see much of the NW corner of the lake below. Jesus must have experienced the top of Arbel as well.
Yardenit / Jordan River
Driving to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee, our next stop was Yardenit. 42 in the group entered the waters of the Jordan River. 40 reaffirmed their faith and commitment as followers (talmidim) of Jesus, while two in the group proclaimed their faith in Christ for the first time. It was a special time for all!
We returned to the NW corner of the lake and visited Magdala. This recent excavation revealed a 1st century synagogue. Jesus must have taught here, even though it is not mentioned in the Gospels. The synagogue is quite small and modest, holding only about 50-60 people. The city was destroyed in 66-67 AD by the Romans.
After a great “fish lunch,” we drove to Chorazin. This was one of the three cities condemned by Jesus for their unbelief in Yeshua/Jesus. The ruins are from the 3rd century AD. While in the synagogue here, we read from Matthew 23, which references the Moses’ Seat.
Down on the water’s edge is Capernaum. While the ruins are not overly impressive, the 5th century AD synagogue is! Below this one is the 1st century one Jesus taught in. Sitting on the synagogue’s stone benches, we read from Mark 1,2 and 9; Luke 7 and 8; and John 6. Jesus performed many miracles here. He also taught here with authority (s’mekah). Here, we also saw the octagonal 5th century AD church. Some went down to the shoreline of there lake. This was where Jesus called His first disciples.
Ancient Boat / Sea of Galilee Boat Ride
We returned to Nof Ginnosar where we saw a 1st century wooden boat. It was extracted out of the mud of the lake in 1986. Sailing in our own boat, we enjoyed a time of worship and reflection. We read the two storm narratives (Matthew 8 & 14) and considered Jesus our ultimate source of peace!
Mt. of Beatitudes
Our last stop of the day was to the Mt. of Beatitudes. Also located on the NW corner of the lake, we walked partially down the slope where we sat on some rocks. We listened to the reading of Matthew 5, first in Hebrew, and then in English. We were invited to seek first (Mt. 6:33) and live out these kingdom principles and to be the salt and light of the world.
We return to our hotel at 7 pm for dinner and a free evening.God blessed us with a great day again!