DAY 7 – FRIDAY, MAY 11: ARBEL, JORDAN RIVER BAPTISM, MAGDALA, CHORIZIM, BETHSAIDA, CAPERNAUM, SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE, MT. OF BEATITUDES
(Theme of the Day: Walking as “Talmidim” / disciples of Jesus)
Today was entirely spent in the Sea of Galilee area. From the southern end to the northwest corner, we retraced the life and ministry of Jesus today. The weather was once again wonderful, with full sun and highs in the 80s, with an afternoon breeze.
Following breakfast, we drove to the cliffs of Arbel. This is a high 800 foot cliff that overlooks the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee. About 30 in the group hiked to the top, while others bussed around from the other side and walking about 400 feet to the top. What a fabulous view from here! Matthew 13 (kingdom parable of the seed) as we saw all kinds of vegetation, including the thorn thistle.
Yardenit/Jordan River Baptism
Driving to the southern end of the lake, about 25 in the group were baptized in the Jordan River at a place called Yardenit. It was a special time of reaffirming our faith-walk with Christ. The water was warm and we had the place to ourselves.
Driving back north along the western shoreline, Magdala was our next visit. This was a prominent 1st century city during the times of Jesus. A certain follower of Jesus, Mary, was from here. We saw the 1st century synagogue here (only one of about seven that date to the time of Jesus have been discovered so far), and we could picture Jesus teaching from the middle of this one!
Following a wonderful “fish” lunch, we drove to the NW corner of the lake to Chorazin. Here we saw a 3rd century synagogue, along with the “Moses’ seat” that was discovered here. We read from Matthew 23 that mentions it. This city was one of three condemned by Jesus because of their unbelief (Bethsaida and Capernaum were the other two, see Matthew 11).
Located down along the shoreline, Capernaum was our next stop. This major city served as Jesus’ “home base” for his ministry. Sitting in the 5th century synagogue (under which was the 1st century one), we read from many of there Gospel accounts of Jesus being here (Mark, 1,2, and 9; Luke 7 and 8; John 6). Jesus displayed his s’mekah (authority) here as well as his compassion and healing. We also considered that it was probably here where Jesus called at least five of His disciples (Mt. 4).
Sea of Galilee Boat Ride
Driving to Nof Ginnosar, we enjoyed seeing a 1st century ancient wooden boat that was discovered in 1986 by two brothers from the kibbutz here. This was followed by our own “boat ride” out on the lake. We enjoyed a time of worship, Scripture (Mark 4, Matthew 14), and reflection as we remembered Jesus’ words, “Peace, be still.” What a promise when we encounter our own “storms” of life!
Mt. of Beatitudes
Our last stop of the day was to the Mt. of Beatitudes. This was where Jesus taught a message about the kingdom principles. It’s called the Sermon on the Mount (although this was probably Jesus’ “go-to” message elsewhere as well (see Luke 7). We heard Matthew 5 in both Hebrew (as it would have been spoken by Jesus) and in English. Most in the group walked down to the water’s edge to end this experience.
We returned to ur hotel for dinner and another free evening.
DAY 9 – SUNDAY, MAY 13: SEPPORIS, NAZARETH PRECIPICE, MEGIDDO, CAESAREA, JERUSALEM
(Theme of the Day: Learning to trust God in our battles)