Today was a very full day. We started out quite early and ended up at about 4:30 PM. The day began at the site accepted as the location of the Sermon on the Mount or the Mount of the Beatitudes. A Franciscan church has been erected on the site; it overlooks the Sea of Galilee. As you walk up to the location from the parking lot all eight of the Beatitudes can be found along the walkway. Next, we visited Tabgha (Mark 6:30-44) – which is the location accepted as the place of the miracle dealing with the feeding of 5,000 with five fishes and two loves. This is also the area where Christ fed the disciples. It was in this area that Jesus could have preached in a synagogue. This was in the case of the next church in the area of Tabgha.
Matthew 5 – The Beatitudes
“…Christ went up on a mountainside…” and he begins to teach them the Beatitudes and other teachings.
Christ did a lot of his ministry in the Capernaum (a small fishing village) area after he left Nazareth. We also traveled here today. It is mentioned in all four gospels and they also say Christ taught in the synagogue in Capernaum; it is also the location of the healing of the paralytic. Who was lowered through the roof to reach Jesus, the servant of a Roman Centurion. He also cursed the town for believing he was the Messiah. Point is, that Christ did teach in a synagogue here.
The next location was where Jesus met the disciples after his resurrection. This is described in the scripture – this was right on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Here Jesus and the disciples had breakfast after he had told them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat and they caught 153 fish. This was the site, or near the actual site, where this took place. The church here (Franciscan) is the church of the Primacy of St Peter… it is built over a rock (Mensa Christi) which is said to be where Jesus prepared fish for breakfast. This is also the location where Jesus asked Peter if he loved him and told him to start the church.
John 21 – The Primacy of St Peter (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Primacy_of_Saint_Peter) as shown in John 21. The first part of the chapter deals with the miraculous catch of fish. By the Sea of Galilee, after Christ had risen, some disciples went out with Peter – they were catching nothing, Christ (unrecognized) told them to throw their nets over the other side of the boat. They then caught MANY fish. Here Christ feeds the disciples a meal of fish and bread. After eating Jesus said to Peter “Simon son of John do you love me more than these?” Three times he was asked and then said follow me and “Feed my sheep”. This is in the area of Tabgha.
From here we went to the town of Capernaum where Jesus probably did most of his work. Again, it should be emphasized that all these places are quite close together! About i.e. a triangle from Fairhope, to Spanish Fort, to Loxley and back to Fairhope. Capernaum was on the major route from Egypt to Damascus, it was near the border so it was an international checkpoint. It kind functioned as an internet of the old world in that people as they passed through would spread the word of what happened elsewhere. The town is a large archeological site that shows what the town was like. The house of Peter has been identified from inscriptions on the house walls. There’s a synagogue there where Jesus likely preached. The scriptures say he prayed in a synagogue there and this was the only synagogue. Was quite large but then again Capernaum was a fairly large important town. Not far were some caves where Jesus could have gone to pray by himself as mentioned in the scriptures. A very interesting site where you could see what the houses and synagogue were like, and how the town was laid out. From here we went maybe a couple of miles to where some ‘rebels’ had dug their homes into the side of a cliff. This was during the time of Herod and his fighting against them. Needless to say, Herod won. After this, it was time to go eat – I had salad as did not want the fried St. Peter fish.
After lunch, we went to an extraordinarily unusual site -an old Roman city that had extensive excavations. Absolutely stunning and the largest I have seen – Bet She,an National Park. Spent quite a bit of time here wandering the ruins. The pictures and other references describe the place. Beth Shan, a Roman town (ruins now) is where Saul and Jonathan were hung from the city walls after being defeated by the Philistines. (1 Samuel 31).
The last visit of the Day was to the River Jordan Baptism Site. This is NOT the site where John the Baptist baptized Jesus but a site built in 1981 for people to come and be baptized in the River Jordan. We had two who wanted to be baptized by immersion and the rest of us were sprinkled. For all of us, except the two baptized by immersion, this was a renewal of our precious baptism. Joe said a few words then we had the renewals and two baptisms.
After this, we headed back to the hotel and that was it for the evening. We got back about 1730 and supper was at 1830. Some outstanding food – see some of the pictures.
So that was it for a very full day and very interesting day.
Mt of Beatitudes
Chapel of the Primacy