Traveling to the Holy Land fulfilled a life-long dream for Butch and me. It made the Bible “come alive”…just to see the places we had read about and studied since childhood! With our celebration of Christ’s resurrection only a few weeks away, we thought it a great idea to share with you, our readers, the land where Jesus walked! Hope you enjoy!
Our first stop was the ruins of Caesarea on the Mediterranean Sea located midway between Tel Aviv and Haifa. It is often referred to as Caesarea Maritima, to distinguish it from Caesarea Philippi near the Jordan River
Caesarea is the site of one of the most important cities in the Roman World, the Roman capital of the province of Judea at the time of Jesus. It was an important center of early Christianity. The Apostle Paul was imprisoned here before being sent to Rome for trial.
Caesarea was named in honor of Caesar Augustus by Herod the Great more than 2000 years ago!
Called the Mount of Beatitudes! Tranquil gardens provide a good vantage point to view the Sea of Galilee. This hilltop is the traditional site of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) which contains a passage known as The Beatitudes!
“Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you”
The Sea of Galilee is fed by the Jordan River and is 13 miles long and 7 miles wide.
It is considered the “cradle of the gospel”. The sea is associated with the public ministry of Jesus.
He chose fishermen from this sea to be his disciples and and sent them out to be “fishers of men” -Peter, Andrew, James and John
A lunch of Saint Peter’s fish that live in the Sea of Galilee.
The name comes from Matthew’s gospel account of Peter catching a fish that carried a coin in its mouth.
“However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself”
Imagine Jesus stilling the tempest of this sea, saying to the storm that swept over it…
The Jordan River rises on the slopes of Mount Hermon, on the Syrian-Lebanese border, flows through northern Israel to the Sea of Galilee and empties into The Dead Sea! As you can see, this photo was taken in a tourist spot where people can be baptized in the Jordan!
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John,
to be baptized by him”
Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River and Christians from all over the world come here to be baptized! Butch and I both had planned to be re-baptized, but when I saw the fish and river rats, I reneged!!
Jesus made Capernaum his home during the years of his ministry. The city was located on the Sea of Galilee!
And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
The darker foundation is the remains of the early Roman synagogue, from the times of Jesus, built with the local (black) basalt rock. The earlier synagogue was the center of Jesus activities, where He taught.
Overlooking the village of Cana where Jesus performed the miracle at the wedding in Cana
Megiddo, also known as Armageddon, is an important ancient town that overlooks the Valley of Jezreel. Archaeologists have unearthed an incredible 25 layers of settlement built on top of each other!
Megiddo’s long history is related to its strategic location on one of the main routes used for travel between Egypt, Syria, and Mesopotamia.
The city is referred to in the New Testament as Armageddon, a name derived from the Hebrew for Mount Megiddo, Har Megiddo. But, many Biblical scholars disagree!
“And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon”
Overlooking the spacious Jezreel Valley with Mount Tabor in the distance. The fertile alluvial soil makes it Israel’s breadbasket!
“…and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand.
And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying,
“Hail, King of the Jews!”
Beit Shean was a major Biblical city located in the center of trade routes. The mighty Canaanite city was not conquered by the Israelites.
“Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and its villages,…”
King Saul’s body was displayed on its walls after his defeat by the Philistines.
“They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan”
(1 Samuel 31:10)
The theater was built in the first century AD. The structure seen today was the end of the second century. The theater contained 7000 seats. The acoustics are amazing and Butch and I had the privilege to sing!
A major earthquake leveled the city in 749 AD!
Stay tuned as we journey into the old town of Jerusalem…coming soon!
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