Jericho – To Walk Where Jesus Walked part 4

Jericho – To Walk Where Jesus Walked part 4

DSC_0469Jericho, “the City of Palms”, is and was an oasis in a very dry and mountainous land due to an ancient stream running through it.  After Jerusalem, it is the most excavated site in Israel and archaeologists have marked it as “the oldest city in the world” due to layers of artifacts dating to the Neolithic age. Today it lies within the Palestinian territory of the West Bank near the Jordan River.

During Jesus’ lifetime the Jericho road, which led to Jerusalem, was well traveled but quite dangerous. Caravans full of cargo, military personnel and pilgrims heading to Jerusalem would all use this roadway. The trip from Jerusalem to Jericho was approximately 18 miles and would descend more than a half mile in elevation.  Jericho is the lowest city in the world at 850 ft below sea level. Because of the isolated terrain, people were a target for bandits who had plenty of places to hide.

Herod had built his winter palace there and the city catered to the rich and powerful. It JerichoSycamorewas also a designated home for the priests and Levites on roster to serve at the Temple. A perfect place for a tax collector named Zacchaeus.  The blind and lame would have been sitting along the road begging for alms.

The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37  

30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the Jericho roadother side.33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

Jesus’ audience would have circled in to listen carefully. They understood the characters, dangers and the severe terrain. Neither a priest nor a Levite would want to ceremonially defile himself. It would have caused a great inconvenience of time and money. So instead they see the need but pass by on the other side. Jesus goes on to describe a despised Samaritan, who stops, sees and goes above and beyond to show deep love and mercy towards another human in great need.

This parable applies throughout the centuries. We should see needs and stop to help or get involved if we can. NO, we can’t help everyone. The needs of today are so far and wide – in our neighborhood and across the globe. But we ALL can make a difference in ONE person’s life. Ask God to open your eyes, don’t just pass by. Be like the Samaritan who didn’t see ethnic, social or economical differences but instead a neighbor in need.

 

Chorus from Amy Grant’s  My Father’s Eyes

She’s got her father’s eyes,
Her father’s eyes;
Eyes that find the good in things,
When good is not around;
Eyes that find the source of help,
When help just can’t be found;
Eyes full of compassion,
Seeing every pain;
Knowing what you’re going through
And feeling it the same.
Just like my father’s eyes,

 

References used include:   BiblePlaces.com / Faith ND/  Bible Odessey / Wikepedia

The Sea of Galilee – To Walk Where Jesus Walked, part 3

The Sea of Galilee – To Walk Where Jesus Walked, part 3

Our visit to The Holy Land included a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee as well as visiting many towns around it. In the Bible, this body of water  is called several other names including the Sea of Tiberias, the Lake of Gennesaret and Lake Kinneret. The “Sea” is actually the largest fresh water lake in Israel and is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth at approximately 700 feet below sea level. It is approximately 33 miles in circumference, 13 miles long and 8 miles wide. The lake is fed partly by underground springs, although its main source is the Jordan River.SeaofGalilee2

“Because it lies low in the Great Rift Valley, surrounded by hills, the Sea of Galilee is prone to sudden turbulence. With little warning, mighty squalls can sweep down the valleys around the lake, whipping its tranquil surface into treacherous waves.” *

 

In modern times tourism has become the major local industry. In Jesus’ time it was fishing. The fish were caught, dried and exported all over the Roman world. At one time the Lake was also the main source of water but now great conservation measures are in place. Today the lake supplies only 10% of the country’s drinking water and there are bans on fishing from April 15 through August 15th.

SeaofGalilee

It was a calm day in May, therefore no fishing, when we sat on the Sea and I could only imagine what it looked like when Jesus walked here. Yes, He walked here!

22 Immediately after this, (the feeding of the 5000) Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home.23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here! ”28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.      Matt 14:22-33 (NLT)

petersinks

The disciples had just participated in the miracle of feeding an enormous crowd with a little boys’ lunch. Jesus now defied gravity and physics by walking to their boat in a storm. Peter was always eager to jump ahead but circumstances sometimes distracted him. Fear and doubt interfere with our faith too. In all of our own circumstances we need to keep our eyes on Jesus to withstand the storm or go where He sends us. We can stand strong and courageous knowing the Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth is with us even if we are sinking. Whatever your circumstances today remember all He has done for you already. So keep your eyes on Jesus while holding his arm tightly and He will carry you through.

For nothing is impossible with God. ”     Luke 1:37 (NLT)

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”     Josh 1:9 (NLT)

seaof galileeboat

References used:   Seetheholyland.net       Bibleplaces.com          Wikipedia

 

Capernaum – To Walk Where Jesus Walked

Capernaum –                                                     To Walk Where Jesus Walked

Capernaum was a busy fishing village with a population of about 1500 located on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee. Archeological excavations have revealed two ancient synagogues built one over the other. A house turned into a church by the Byzantines is said to be the house of Saint Peter. (Wikipedia) It became an important stop for Roman soldiers. Jesus called His first disciples from the area and spent a lot of time in Capernaum and He may have lived with Peter’s family while here or other disciples.

And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14  so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:  (Isaiah 9:1-2)    Matt 4:13-14 (ESV)

Since recently visiting Israel my scripture reading now includes better insights of how IMG_2003and where they lived and ministered. Peter’s house was right across the road from the synagogue!

And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them. 32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. Mark 1:29-33

IMG_2012Today this spot is surrounded first by an octagonal wall that was a 4th century church marking the historicity of the place and today a modern Catholic church hovers over the excavated area with a window in the floor for all to see the room where Jesus may have preached.

In this one town we read about people from many different walks of life coming to see Jesus. Unlikely people who would not have otherwise spoken to each other came in droves for healing and to hear the teaching from this incredible man of God. These stories of faith are filled with healing and restoration. There were no hospitals. The sick and lame were a burden to their families if they could not work. They were forbidden to enter the synagogue because they were “unclean”. Life changing miracles of restoration include not just body and mind but of life and purpose. Yet despite witnessing the power of God, Jesus later admonishes this town too for their unbelief.

Peter’s mother-in-law helped host many people in their home while Jesus was in town preaching. How often did she help serve the hungry band of disciples? One time the house was so packed four friends cut a hole through the roof to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus. Maybe they were out working together and he fell down the steep hillside…a terrible accident…would Jesus restore their friend?Magdala

A Roman centurion would have had total disgust for the Jews in general. But one understood Jesus’ power and authority and he humbled himself to ask for healing for his beloved servant. Jarius was synagogue leader that asked Jesus to heal his little girl while at the same time a woman, suffering from a bleeding disorder for twelve years, reaches to touch His robe and is instantly healed.

                         REAL  PEOPLE.  REAL  STORIES.  REAL  LIFE  SITUATIONS.

 The world has vastly changed in building, knowledge, technology and travel; but people have not changed! That is one reason why the Bible is so relevant for today.  We too have family, friends, government, work and worship.

 Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.   John 21:25 (NLT)

 My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 

  I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”    John 16:33 

God stepped out of glory in the form of Jesus to live and share real life with mankind; all of it – the joys, fellowship, sadness and hurt. He understands. Come to Him in the middle of your mess or in your greatest joys… then share your story so all can hear of His love and life changing power.

Ariel view of Capernaum today    CapernaumAerialView