Sunday, January 2, 2011

Israel day 6

Climbing along the ridge of Mount Arbel that overlooks the Sea of Galilee. Down below in the valley is the passage way from northern Galilee to Jerusalem which Abraham would have taken when he was called by God to leave Ur and go to the land of Canaan which would someday become Israel. This is also one of the ways Jesus would have made His way from Galilee down to the southern parts of Israel. That little valley has seen some great men roll through it!

Once we made it to the top here is myself standing at the peak of Mt. Arbel. Down below is the Sea of Galilee. Off in the distance over my right shoulder up in the fog is Capernaum where Jesus lived and had His ministry headquarters. Mt. Arbel is thought by many to be the mountain where Jesus went to to spend the night in prayer as it is only a few miles from Capernaum. It is also possibly the mountain where, in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul refers to the risen Jesus showing Himself alive to 500 brothers at once up in Galilee. Mt. Arbel has a large flat spot which I am facing on the other side of the camera.

One of the places I was looking forward to being the most--the synagogue at Capernaum. This was Jesus' home 'church' where He spent a lot of time and taught. I am standing where Jesus stood after He fed the 5000 men in John 6 and they followed Him to Capernaum. They wondered why He had left them on the shores of Galilee on the other side and how He had gotten there so fast. (they didn't realize He walked on water to get here so He took the 'short cut' across! lol) Jesus stood in this spot and told them to follow Him they had to 'eat' His flesh and 'drink' His blood. Although He was speaking figuratively, this was shocking enough to drive almost everyone away who didn't bother to hang around and become a true disciple to find out what Jesus was referring to. (His death on the cross and communion which remembers it) This was a very surreal moment for me as I realized I was preaching the exact passage that Jesus spoke from that very spot. Humbling to stand on the same ground as the Master communicator!!!

This is a 1st century fishing boat that they pulled out of the mud when Galilee was very low after a severe drought. You can see how having 12 grown men in this small boat would become a problem when the storm came down on them while they were on the Sea of Galilee and why Jesus had to come rescue them!

I am realxing on a rock in Tagba from John 21 where Jesus reinstated Peter after his dismal failures. I am contemplating the goodness of God for sinful fishermen like Peter who ate fish cooked by Jesus on the shore to my right. When Peter is asked about his love for Jesus he reponds positively without saying a wholehearted 'yes'. Jesus then goes on to ask him two more times to which Peter is hurt as Jesus asked him three times in a row. This passage makes the point that Jesus puts our devotion to Him to the test often and even when we fail he is ready to forgive and pick us up and move us on! Thank you for grace today Jesus!

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