March 13, 2015
Confession: As I read everything we did on March 13, the order in which we did it has escaped my memory. But I am pretty sure this is the order. Who knows?
We woke up this morning in the city of Tiberius on the coast of the Sea of Galilee. Two blocks from our hotel is a fish market where fisherman sell the fish they caught that night. It is safe to say that the fish you eat along this coast were probably caught the night before. The photo below is from our hotel room giving you a great view of the city of Tiberius.
From here we proceeded on to Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13; Mark 8:27; Matthew 16:13-20). Dr. Paul Kim read from Matthew 16 here and reminded us that in order for Christ to build His church He needs us…all of us. Caesarea Philippi is located at the foot of Israel’s highest mountain, Mount Hermon. It is also here where, at this time of the year, the headwaters of the Jordan River were quite strong because of snow at the top of Mount Hermon.
The photo below shows you how strong the headwaters were at this time of the year. Our guide indicated it is very rare to see this headwaters this strong at all.
Next we headed to the Mount of the Beatitudes. This site is recognized as the traditional site of the Sermon on the Mount, the Mount of the Beatitudes. It is now the site of an Italian convent built by the Franciscan sisters in 1937 with the money donated by Mussolini (when he was trying to buy his way into Heaven). It was from this site Clif Anderson, from our Fayetteville campus, read the beatitudes. It is believed it would have been a spot much like this that Jesus spoke because there is a natural amphitheater where it would have been easy for Him to speak to thousands without the use of speakers.
Later we headed to the Sea of Galilee (Mark 3:7-12; Luke 5:1-3; Matthew 8:23-27). There is a small museum on one side of the water that houses a 2,000 year old fishing boat that was uncovered from mud in 1987 by some local fisherman and often called the, “Jesus Boat.” We then boarded a large boat and set sail across the Galilee. Sailing across the Sea of Galilee is an experience like no other. Knowing you are on the very water that Jesus calmed during a storm, knowing you are on the very water that Jesus and the disciples sailed on many times during His ministry; it is still very hard to describe in mere words. While floating our pastor read from Matthew 14:22-33 and reminded us all not to be afraid, rest easy and take courage in knowing you never walk alone. The ride concluded with David McKinney leading us in, “It is Well With My Soul.”
As if we hadn’t experienced enough the day concluded with baptisms in the Jordan River!