This is what I repeatedly hear from others on our pilgramage through the Holy Land. We see the ruins of Caesarea by the Sea, a magnificent harbor city built by King Herod the Great, the King of Israel at the time of Jesus' birth. We see the only natural spring in Nazareth where Mary had to have come and collected water for her family's needs. We learn that a fault line between two continental plates lies under part of the Sea of Galilee resulting in hot mineral springs; the fish don't like the hot springs and therefore congregrate along the northern shore where fishing villages developed and Peter and Andrew fished before being called by Jesus to be "Fishers of Men". (Mark 1:16-18)
We learn how the cool Mediteranean winds can mix with the hot air created over the Sea of Galilee during the day to result in high winds and storms on the sea as experienced by Jesus and his disciples. (Matt 8:23-27)
We visited the excavation at Capernaum and walked in the Synagogue where the Bible says Jesus performed an exercism of a demon. (Mark 1:21-28)
We see a Church hovering over a house believed to be the house of Peter as Peter was from this village. (Mark 1:29) There is evidence that this house was a meeting place for early Christians. We see the remains of a first Century boat that existed at the time of Jesus; Did he ride in this boat? Did he preach from it? (Luke 5:1-11)
We visit the ruins of Korazin, including a Synagogue that contains a Moses' Seat. Jesus warned HIs followers to be aware of the hypocrites that sit on Moses's Seat. (Matt 23) We see the remains of an "extended" family living complex with a large common area in the middle and learn how this is the type of area where Jesus would have been sitting at a low table when the women "Broke in" and anointed His head with oil. (Matt 26:6-13) We see the hills where Jesus gave His Sermon on the Mount giving us the Beatitudes. (See the warnings Jesus gave Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Korazin; Matt 11:21-24)
We visit some ruins of Caesarea Philipi, a pagan city built by Herod Philip, son of Herod the Great. On the way to the city, Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" Peter answers, "You are the Messiah, the son of the living God." (Matt 16:13-17)
These are just some of the things that we have seen and learned that brings the stories of the Bible to life and confirms the events recorded in the Bible. Knowing that, who do we say Jesus is and what does that mean for our lives?
The Scribe Jeff Whitt