Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20

Saturday, April 20, 2013


 "As Jesus walked along the shore of Lake Galilee, He saw two brothers who were fishermen, Simon (called Peter) and his brother, Andrew, catching fish in the lake with a net."

 We are told that this is the actual place that Jesus would have called these brothers along with James and John.

St. Peter's Church was built on the spot where Jesus prepared the meal of fish for His disciples.

It is run by Franciscan priests.

Just as fishermen spread nets, gather fish and sort them, one day angels will gather and separate for God those who have been made righteous by Him.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Chorazin remains

About an hour and a half walk up the hillside from the shoreline of Capernaum are the remains of Chorazim (Korazim).  It was renowned for the good wheat grown there. 

"The primary geology around the Sea of Galilee is lava rock (basalt) derived from ancient volcanic eruptions.  Basalt was the main source of building material around the Sea.  Buildings constructed from any other material meant the stone would have had to be imported."

"In the New Testament (Matthew 11:21 and Luke 10:13) Chorazim is mentioned as a city condemned by Jesus.  He must have done significant miracles in the vicinity considering the "woes" pronounced against the inhabitants for their unbelief."
"Ritual purification baths located near the 2nd or 3rd century AD basaltic synagogue suggest some element of observant Judaism."
 "The archaeological find of "Moses' seat" located in the synagogue fits ancient Jewish culture of the Gospels."  The seat of Moses was found in the 1920's.  The original is in the museum in Jerusalem.  The priest with the most authority would sit on the hand carved seat as he taught the people.  Perhaps if Jesus had spoken at this synagogue, as was His custom, He would have had His turn as a Rabbi, sitting in this seat!


"By the 2nd century, Chorazin was far from an observant Jewish village.  There was a strong Hellenistic influence within the city."

"How terrible it will be for you, Chorazin!  ...If the miracles which were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, the people there would have long ago put on sackcloth and sprinkled ahses on themselves, to show that they had turned from their sins!"  Matthew 11:21

quotes from "Exploring Bible Times" field notes by Dr. James Martin

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The location of the Beatitudes and the feeding of the 5,000

After we left Arbel Cliffs, we drove along the north edge of Lake Gennesaret or Kinneret (known also as the Sea of Galilee).  Jesus and His disciples would have walked along the sea, and somewhere in this area Jesus would have taught the multitudes who followed after Him.

We visited the Church of the Beatitudes, located near Tabgha and Capernaum, where tradition says Christ gave the Sermon on the Mount, although this might have taken place over time, not necessarily in one setting. (Matthew 5-7)

I have to say that I am just not so keen on these churches (shrines) being built here.  I guess some find them worshipful places, but I prefer the outdoors and wish they would just have left the beauty of the area "as is".

Looking back to the cliffs we had been on earlier in the day.

In the photo below, looking at the "other side" of the Sea of Galilee.  Jewish people in Biblical times would not go to the "other side".  The Second Feeding (of 4,000) took place on the other side in the pagan Decapolis area and was meant for the new people of God, made up of Jews and Gentiles.  The 7 baskets left over were symbols of the 7 Nations originally expelled from the land by the tribes of Israel, but now invited to take part at the table of the Lord.

* * * * *

We also visited the Loaves and Fishes Church at Tabgha.   The church is modern but stands on the site of 4th and 5th-century churches.  During the time of Christ, Tabgha was considered the lonely place where Jesus withdrew to frequently.   In the first 4 centuries a large community of Christians of Jewish descent lived in Capernaum and kept alive the memory of Jesus' presence at Tabgha, passing these traditions on from generation to generation.

Besides its supposed place of a miracle of Jesus, one of the main highlights of the Church of the Loaves and Fishes is this beautiful 5th-century mosaic floor. It is the earliest known example of a figured pavement in Palestinian Christian art.

This is the traditional stone on which the miraculous meal was laid.  Or where Jesus sat on.  Evidently, in early years people would chip away pieces of this stone for good luck.  Now, it is blocked off so people can't do that.

The first feeding of the multitude with 12 baskets left over signifies, according to ancient tradition, the 12 tribes of Israel.

Of course, it is not really known for sure that these are the actual places Jesus did these things.  What is important is that He did them.  He proved over and over that He is the Messiah, the Rescuer of mankind.

What He said raised the eyebrows of the religious elite (and their anger).  "He wasn't like the teachers of the Law; instead He taught with authority."  What He said reaches across people culturally, politically and for all ages.  His Word is timeless.  And it speaks to the heart!

When He fed the 5,000, this was a Jewish audience, on their way to celebrate the Passover.  Passover was a time to remember God delivering Israel out of Egypt and providing for them in the wilderness through the miraculous provision of food and water.  And now Jesus did the same thing for these people.  He more than satisfied the hunger of thousands!

And He satisfies our "hunger" too.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."  Matthew 5:6

Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Arbel Cliffs

On our 3rd day, the bus took us to the Arbel Cliffs that tower 700 feet above the Sea of Galilee.
 We came across some tares and he gave us the lesson of the wheat and the tares.  (Matt. 13)

We walked to the edge of the cliffs.  What a beautiful panoramic view overlooking the plain of Magdala with a view looking northeast toward Capernaum.

Jim announced that we would be climbing down the cliffs.  But he said that if any were faint of heart (afraid of heights!) or had physical issues, then the bus would take those people to the bottom and we could meet the climbers.  After my experience at the slot canyons in Utah, I decided to take the bus!  I definitely have the fear of height- or should I say the "fear of fall"!!!

I took a picture of Al with the pharmacy mascot in his hand - Lortab.

I gave Al a "good-bye" kiss in case he fell, and bid him farewell!

There were about 7 of us who decided to ride the bus for one reason or another.

Our bus driver took us to the bottom of the cliffs and showed us the path to travel to go meet up with the crew coming down from the top!

"In the first century BC the Romans brought violence and hardship to the people living near Capernaum.  Herod the Great was attempting to solidify the Roman control in this region, which was known as the "Galilee of the Gentiles" (Matt. 4:15)  Toward that end, he sought to clean out the resistance fighters who had hidden themselves and their families in cave homes lining the steep cliffs.  Those resisting Rome thought the topography would provide adequate protection.  But Herod had Roman soldiers lowered in baskets over the edge of the cliff to slaughter the families."

Here are some pictures I got from one of the hikers who braved it.

You’re my cave to hide in, my cliff to climb. Be my safe leader, be my true mountain guide. Free me from hidden traps; I want to hide in you. I’ve put my life in your hands. You won’t drop me, you’ll never let me down.
Psalm 31:2-4, The Message

My husband made it!!

Here is the path we took to meet up with them.  Isn't it peaceful and beautiful?

Jim told us that Jesus and His disciples would have traveled this "road" often and perhaps even drunk from this spring.

"The path of the righteous is level;
O upright One, 
You make the way of the righteous smooth."
Isaiah 26:7