Israel 2019 Day 8

We started our day driving up from Tiberias to the cliffs of Arbel for an amazing view of the Sea of Galilee. We saw the area where Jesus did the vast majority of his ministry, and got a great bird’s eye view of the region.

We drove back down to the Sea of Galilee around the west side and stopped at one traditional location for the “mount of beatitudes.” No one could say for certain exactly where Jesus delivered the sermon on the mount, but it was likely on the west side of the lake on one of the lower hills that drift down into the water. We talked briefly about how shocking Jesus’ message was to the religious establishment of his day. We also discussed how the beatitudes aren’t a checklist to earn salvation, but rather a description of who we are in Christ.

We continued around the western side of the Sea of Galilee and stopped by Chorazin. The three towns Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum were all condemned by Jesus in Matthew 11 for witnessing his mighty works and refusing to repent and believe. Jesus’ message was clear: repent and believe the gospel.

Just a few minutes down the hill on the shore of the lake is Capernaum, the Galilean headquarters for Jesus. So much happened here! Jesus healed the paralytic lowered into Peter’s mother’s house, he healed the man with the withered hand in the synagogue, and he raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead. Yet so many refused to worship him.

We continued our day with a visit to Gennesar. This kibbutz discovered a 1st century boat on their property and did an amazing job preserving it. It was this kind of boat Jesus and his disciples probably used.

After enjoying a tasty fish lunch we visited Yardenit, a place with access to the Jordan river. The Jordan river is both underwhelming and overwhelming. It’s no mighty river on its own account. Even so, it testifies to the faithfulness of God as he brought the Israelites across it (much farther south) and due to Jesus being baptized in it (much much farther south).

Our last stop of the day was a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, no doubt a highlight of our trip. We paused on the lake to read from Mark 4:35-41. We talked about the temptation to always ask if Jesus cares about us when we really need to remember who it is who’s in the boat with us. Even the wind and the waves obey him!

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