Ruins and Recreations
Good morning from the Sea of Galilee! Another beautiful, sunny day began with a buffet breakfast in our hotel before we headed out to the Mount of Beatitudes. Field Ministry Representative Dan Dark spoke to us about his favorite passage, Proverbs 3:5–6, on our way. He recalled when his father told his mother to crawl on the ground for a reason she couldn’t understand until later: A dangerous snake was hanging in front of her and would have attacked her if she continued walking. We need to have the same trust in God even when it doesn’t make sense.
Our time at the Mount of Beatitudes was solemn. After reading the beatitudes from Matthew 5, we stepped inside the Catholic chapel at the heart of the grounds. The chapel was decorated beautifully, but our focus was on the person of Jesus Christ and the words He spoke here more than the building’s elaborate symbols and designs. Outside we enjoyed the budding landscape and seascape.
We spent much of the morning in Capernaum. The people of this town by the sea were extremely privileged 2,000 years ago to benefit from many of Jesus’ most notable miracles. Here He cast out demons; and He healed a centurion’s servant, a paralyzed man dropped through the roof of a house, a woman with a blood disorder, a noble man’s son, Peter’s mother-in-law, blind men, and entire multitudes, among others. But they would also suffer the worst judgment because, as a whole, they were indifferent to Jesus’ works. Jim Showers explained how this failure eventually led Christians to adopt the ugly doctrine of Replacement Theology—the belief that the church has replaced Israel and taken its promised blessings but not its curses. It’s our duty as faithful, Bible-believing Christians to stand against this poisonous teaching and stand with Israel, the apple of God’s eye now and forever.
Capernaum had some well preserved ruins that gave us a glimpse into life in the town in Jesus’ day. We saw the remains of a section of houses packed close together—much smaller than we’d enjoy living in today. We also saw a synagogue that was largely kept intact, which included sections of its design on exhibit with familiar Israeli symbols like grapes, pomegranates, stars, chariots, and columns.
On the way to our next stop we passed through Cana, the site of the wedding at which Jesus turned water into wine. Today it is void of any Jewish presence, occupied primarily by Arab Muslims as well as some Christians.
Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Yup—lunch! At Nazareth Village we enjoyed a biblical meal of lentil soup, salad, hummus, pita, chicken, and apples with date spread. When we arrived here, we felt as if we stepped into first-century Israel. Everything we saw was arranged just like you’d imagine it would have been in Jesus’ time, as Nazareth served as His home for the majority of His life. Those who set up the villages paid close attention to Scripture’s details of this time period, as everything was meticulously designed to be biblically accurate. Our food, servers, dining room, its furnishings, and the wooden benches, tables, bowls, plates, and cups we used mirrored biblical arrangements.
Our hosts then led us through their village, a one-of-a-kind walk through the Nazarene slopes that brought us to many biblical elements: sheep, donkeys, shepherds, carpenters, stables, homes, and synagogues. It was a blast stepping back in history to Jesus’ hometown, where He truly said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” We saw this truth played out in a replica synagogue, where an actor portraying Jesus spoke these words before being thrown out of the building. Each reenactment and demonstration brought the Word of God and the history of Israel to life more and more.
We headed out to Magdala, home of Mary Magdalene and a key fishing town with a bustling marketplace in the first century. The ruins of the marketplace still stand today as well as a newly discovered synagogue’s remains. Tito gave an excellent presentation of their history, their fall to the Romans in 67 AD, and the relics left behind that taught us about the menorah and ancient Israeli business. We also spent time in the boat chapel, remembering when Jesus told Peter to “launch into the deep” in the miracle in which Peter caught a multitude of fish; and we enjoyed the beautiful mosaic designs inside the building.
A stop at the fan-favorite Aroma Coffee kept everyone happy and lively as we headed back to the hotel to enjoy dinner together. Tonight we’ll be treated to a wonderful musical performance by a special guest. Tune in tomorrow to find out the identity of our entertainer and how we spend our last night on the Sea of Galilee at the Ramot Resort!
Author: Jesse King
The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry
Photos: Mary Hopp
Human Resources Manager
The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry