Tuesday 15 March 2016

Israel Day 3 - Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum, Mount of Beatitudes and the Sea of Galilee

Our day began in Caesarea Philippi, a place that was believed to be the birth place of the pagan god Pan. So in Jesus' day it was a place of pagan worship - people would even sacrifice babies into the cave you can see above to appease the gods in the hope that spring would return.

And it is to this place that Jesus brought His disciples in Matthew 13 and asked them who they say that He is. This is the first place where Jesus is declared the Christ and where Jesus declares that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church.

Gates are not an offensive weapon, they're a defence - which means that the church should be on the offensive. Jesus is proclaimed as light in the darkest place. On the cross Jesus won the victory and even in this pagan place Jesus can be declared as Christ and Lord. And it is Jesus who will build His church - it's His work and He will accomplish His mission. 

It is after this declaration of Jesus as Lord that we read He turns His face towards Jerusalem where He ultimately dies on His mission to rescue us. And as we follow Christ on His mission we also need to die - we need to die in obedience to Him, we may need to die to some of our hopes and dreams.

When we follow God in death we also follow Him through to resurrection. Once someone has died they are no longer afraid of death - they have no fear because there is nothing with which they can be threatened. They are dangerous and, like the seed that falls to the ground and dies, they are in a position to bear much fruit.

Dave teaching on the path of a disciple and the path of a disciple-making ministry.

Our disciplemaking takeaway from here was:

If you want to live you have to die.

Another picture of the cave.

One of the most beautiful things about our trip was we were there when Israel is in bloom! This is a very short season here and it was beautiful.

The synagogue in Capernaum.

Our next stop of the day was Capernaum, which was Jesus' home base for His three years of ministry. In this place we talked about Jesus' foundation in ministry and how He equipped His disciples. Our disciplemaking takeaway was:

You equip by doing with.


We had lunch on the shore of Galilee, eating the most common kosher fish found in the Sea of Galilee.

We then went on a bit of a hike along the Mount of the Beatitudes, where Jesus may well have preached the Sermon of the Mount. Somewhere along the way we sat down and talked about how Jesus taught for transformation. Our disciplemaking takeaway from here was:

To teach like Christ connect truth and life.

The Chapel on top of the Mount of Beatitudes.

The mustard plant and the Sea of Galilee

Our final stop of the day was a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee! It was incredible to cross the lake (yes, the Sea of Galilee is actually a lake) and remember all the Bible stories that we know happened on the lake or around it. 

On the lake we thought about Jesus calming the storm - and we know it was a dangerous storm because the disciples, who were experienced fishermen, were frightened. I love that they were frightened and probably had no idea how Jesus would help but they still went to Him. I want to be someone who consistently goes to Jesus, even and especially when I'm not even sure how He could help. And I want to be someone who faithfully leads others to Him. 

Our boat.

It was wonderful to end our day on the water and singing worship songs. 

No comments:

Post a Comment