Did you know that Tuesday is the favorite day for people of the Jewish Faith to get married? Its because Tuesday is the 3rd day of the week and on the 3rd day of creation God said, “It is Good,” twice.
We got ready for our day by having a great breakfast together and loaded up the bus by 7:30 AM to go for an hour boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. As we got on the boat, the men from Galilee raised the American Flag and played the national anthem just as we were taking off. Kinda cool! Everybody was in awe of the beauty of the lake. Kelli and I took the opportunity for a photo op.
While on the boat I asked the boat drivers to turn off the engine of the boat and allow us to come to a stop in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. We sat there in silence and listened to the waves sloshing against the boat. I imagined Peter and John and some of the others sitting in that very spot fishing. After some quiet on the Sea we opened our Bibles and talked about the stories that took place on this location. Jesus and Peter walking on water. Jesus sleeping in the bottom of the boat to be awakened and He got up and told the wind and waves to be still. They obeyed!! The story about Peter jumping out of the boat and swimming in to meet Jesus on the shore after He had risen from the dead. While out on the lake we pointed out the places on shore where Jesus fed the 5000 & 4000. The location where Jesus healed the demon possessed man and the demons were sent into the herd of pigs and the pigs jumped off a cliff into the sea. The place where Jesus pointed to “The city on a hill” and how we would never put a lamp under a bushel. The hill where Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount. The places where Jesus told Peter he would become a “fisher of men.” What a boat ride!
As we docked the boat and unloaded we immediately went into a museum right off the Sea of Galilee that found and preserved the remains of a boat dated back to Jesus’ era. It helped us understand what kind of boat Jesus traveled in and the Apostles fished from. Pretty cool.
We then loaded up the bus and drove to a location I have not been to even though this is my 3rd time to Israel. The place is called Dan. It took us an hour to drive to the far North of Israel (Isreal is the size of New Jersey) where the Lebanon/Israel borders meet. Dan is fortress that Jeroboam moved a group of Israelites to and urged them to worship false Gods. He built an altar where children were sacrificed to these false gods, made a golden calf that they prayed to. Jeroboam was an evil king of Israel and you can read about him and the place we visited in 1 Kings 12:25-33. The sight we visited was in very good condition even though the time of Jeroboam was nearly 1000 B.C.!
Just around the corner of Dan we visited what is considered the Canaanite Gate. Before Israel even existed the Canaanites ruled. This gate entry we saw is referenced in Genesis 14:14. Abraham’s name was still Abram. This gate is where Abram came to rescue Lot. Yes…the Lot of Sodom and Gomorrah. We took a group picture here. This gate is ancient. We’re talking around 4000 years old. Again…Genesis 14! Wow. See Pic.
After that amazing site we stopped for lunch. Falafels again! I could eat that for lunch every day.
The next sites we hit were all sites that we spent about 15 minutes at each location. So much to see…so little time! We went to Caesarea Philippi where there was 3 cult temples built, one of them worshiping the false god “Pan.” Pan was part goat, part man…played a flute. It was at this site where Jesus asked the Apostles who they thought Jesus was. Peter replied… “You are the son of God!” Jesus rewarded his faith by telling him the keys of heaven were given to him. This site also is where they considered the “gates of Hades” to exist and that’s why Jesus said on this spot… The Church will prevail and the gates of hades will not!” There was a large cave that looked like it descended into darkness thus got nicknamed the gates of hell. I didn’t get pics of it, but if you check out facebook, lots of people on our trip took pictures.
Right after this visit we shot off again and this time to the Mount of Beatitudes where we stood on the ground where Jesus taught about how to be blessed. “Blessed are those who are poor in spirit. Blessed are those who…read the whole Beatitudes section found Matthew 6:17 and following. It says that Jesus climbed up a hillside and sat down and taught. Our group stood and look down a hillside where there were many chair sized rocks that Jesus could have sat and taught from. You can’t imagine how powerful it is to stand on the ground where Jesus actually stood!
We then went to the location where Peter was asked by Jesus, “Do you Love me,” 3 times. We were able to walk down to the water front and see and smell and feel the beach where Jesus spent much of His time right off the Sea of Galilee.
We then went to Capernaum. This is the location where Jesus healed the paralyzed man that some men lowered through the roof. We visited Peter’s Mother in Law’s home where Jesus would have slept on occasion. It was in this home that Jesus healed Peter’s Mother in Law and she got up and made them dinner. We know this is the spot of Peter’s home because of the engraving they found from the 1st Century. We visited the ruins of the synagogue where Jesus would have spent time teaching the people. Capernaum is a place that doesn’t have any life in it today. Jesus cursed it because of the people’s unbelief. Matthew 11:21. It was also in this town where Jesus said, “You must eat my flesh and drink my blood.” Again…an amazing historical sight. It was inspiring to walk around in the place.
After Capernaum we had one final spot to get to before the day would be over. The Jordan river where we had some people on our trip who wanted to be Baptized where Jesus was baptized. So we had to rent white robes and towels and we got into the cold waters of the Jordan and I baptized around 10 people. The place was packed. There were people from all over the world. You could hear all the different languages and see all the different skin colors. Jesus is pretty amazing. He can unite and He can divide. He said He is the Alpha and the Omega. All the different types of people at this one location gave us all a glimpse of what Heaven might look like. All those baptized gasped as they came up out of the cold water. Some cheered, some cried. What a cool moment. I will never forget it.
What was really cool about this final spot was what happened after I baptized the last Parkway people. I had two people ask me to baptize them. They were total strangers who had traveled without a tour guide all the way from Moscow Russia and just happened to be at the Jordan River seeing me baptizing people and they asked me to baptize them. It was an honor. I believe the couple was a mother and son. The son was in his 20’s. The mother could not speak English so her son translated for her. I got his email address from him and will send the pictures to them when we get back to the States. The last thing I said to this couple before we left was, “If I never see you again here on earth I look forward to seeing you again in Heaven!”
Wow! What a trip and we haven’t even been to Jerusalem yet.
I hope your Tuesday went well. Mine was magnificent. I’m exhausted. If you are worried about your family or friends who are with Kelli and I on this trip. Stop worrying. They are all eating together, laughing and getting to know each other very well. They will come back united with one another having experienced a life altering trip to the Holy Lands.
I’ll blog more tomorrow.
As the people of Jewish faith say, “Shalom.”
What a day!
I’m off to bed.