Tour Journal For The Journey Begins… a new path before you March 18-29, 2012

Day 6 – Compassionate Fishers of Men

Day 6 – Compassionate Fishers of Men

It was a beautiful morning. We began with devotions on a boat on the Sea of Galilee.   We learned that the ancient Jews held bodies of water in awe, believing that they were the path to the underworld (abyss).  Even today, the Israeli people show no interest in using the sea for recreational purposes. It is understandable, then, that Jesus would turn heavily toward fishermen to serve as his disciples, since they had demonstrated courage to face the abyss’ daunting challenges.

Following the serenity of the boat ride, our bus dropped us off at Tabgha.  Directly below Capernaum, this was the waterfront site where Jesus called a number of his disciples, including Peter, John, James, and Andrew.  We learned that Jesus first met them casting their net, and his last encounter, after his glorious resurrection, again found them casting their net.  In that instance, they were doing poorly, but, with Jesus’ help, they caught 153 fish.  This is significant because in ancient times it was believed that there were a 153 different species of fish in the entire world.  Jesus was telling his disciples, and us, that we should cast our nets with faith and confidence in an effort to bring all the people of the world into God’s kingdom.

We next proceeded to Areamos Topos, commonly known as the Mount of Beatitudes.  This was the site of Jesus’ powerful Sermon on the Mount.  It offered a majestic view of the Sea of Galilee.  The fields were adorned with wildflowers and birds were singing throughout.  We discussed Jesus’ love for everyone, including those who have never known God.  We are called to show compassion toward those in economic or physical need.  One of our group wanted to relay to his granddaughter that he saw Jesus today as he sat beside a carving of Jesus on the hillside.

Most of Jesus’ ministry included the area known as the “triangle,” bounded by the cities of Chorazin, Capernaum, and Bethsaida. We traveled to all three today, starting at Chorazin. We learned the importance of community – examining the life of family groups and Jewish worship in the synagogue.

Next we went to Capernaum, home of Peter and the base for Jesus’ ministry. The city lay on the route of the Via Maris – the major trade route along the sea. Capernaum was also a cultural learning center for the Jews. We learned that there were two types of rabbis. The first type was only allowed to used pre-approved interpretations of the law. The second type could go beyond the prescribed teachings and could add his own interpretation. Jesus appears to have been of the second type as evidenced by his expression “you have heard it said, but I say.”

Finally, we journeyed to Bethsaida where four or five of the disciples lived. This was impressive considering Bethsaida was a small village of 500-600 people. God can use ordinary people to do extraordinary things. We asked ourselves, “what can God do with me?” “Am I prepared to stand for Christ, no matter the price or the challenge?” What stories will we write? What legacies will we leave?

Shalom on the Friday evening, the start of the Jewish Sabboth.

Michael Nieland

Audio from this day
Centurion and the Rabbi 
A Peculiar Strike 

Today's Photos

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