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Israel 2019 Update #2

I’ve been waiting for this day…

Weather in Israel is beautiful. Temperatures are inching higher, too. We leave tomorrow for the desert region of the Holy Land. It will be hot and dry at the Dead Sea.

The Sea of Galilee is one of my favorite places in the Holy Land. Our morning started with a boat ride and worship service on the Sea of Galilee. It was an amazing time with the Lord. Jesus invited us to have an audience with Him. We sang songs, read Scripture, preached truth, shared stories, and prayed together. In years past, we only had one hour on the sea. An executive decision was made two years ago. We needed an extra hour on the water. Guess what we did today? We spent two hours on the boat…very wise investment. As we prayed and expected, it was a “holy ground” moment. As you read today’s blog, I’m sorry that you weren’t able to be with us in person. There’s always another trip in the future.

Once the boat docked, we visited the museum that displays the “Jesus Boat.” The boat was discovered in the Sea of Galilee in 1986 and is estimated to be 2,000 years old. The movie that describes the discovery and excavation process is inspiring. I encourage you to Google “Jesus Boat” and see pictures and read stories about the excavation process.

Our next stop was at St. Peter’s Primacy. Our Scripture reading was John 21:1-14. Jesus built a charcoal fire and fed his disciples grilled fish. There’s a rock there that many people believe Jesus stood on. That place was a good photo opportunity for us. Many individuals and couples stood on the rock, too.

An inspiring place to visit is the village of Capernaum. Capernaum is an ancient Jewish fishing village. The area was prominent in Jesus’ life and in the New Testament. However, the village isn’t mentioned in the Old Testament. Herod Antipas was in charge of the Galilee. Capernaum is located in this area of Israel. We read from John 6. Peter’s house was in this village, and a church met under his roof. Peter’s mother-in-law was healed in Capernaum. The four men lowered the paralytic here (Luke 5:17-26). That man was healed, and people glorified God. The village had a prominent synagogue. Jesus spent considerable time in that place of worship. He’d often read Isaiah the prophet during worship. I get chills to think that we stood in a place where Jesus walked, worshipped, and witnessed. Jesus cursed this village (Matthew 11:20-24). People rejected Him. There’s an urgent lesson for us. We can’t reject Jesus, refuse to repent, and escape the consequences. Sin is serious in God’s eyes. Near the synagogue’s entrance, you can step on a step, that in all reality, is a step that Jesus stepped on. The synagogue in Capernaum is the most mentioned synagogue in the Bible.

We ate lunch today at a new restaurant, overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The menu made the dining experience memorable. Many in our group ate St. Peter’s fish. If you’re wondering, the head and tail are on your plate. You’ll see a picture in today’s video. The fish’s eyeballs were still intact, too. I must say, the fish was tasty. By the way, Tom Cooney ate one of the eyeballs. I hope the eyeball had lots of nutrients. I asked Tom about the second eyeball, and he said that one was enough. That’s one more than I ate.

Our final stops of the day were at the Mount of the Beatitudes and the Jesus (Gospel) Trail. We read Matthew 5-7. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was preached at this location. As we read this sermon, you could hear birds signing, and you could see flowers all around. Jesus used simple object lessons to teach profound truths. He was a master teacher. The Jesus (Gospel) Trail connected Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee. Can you imagine walking a path on earth that Jesus walked? That’s what happens when you take a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

As we prepare for another delicious dinner at The Scots, today has been amazing. One person said to me at the end of today’s tour, “It can’t get any better than this.” I said, “I’m thankful that you’ve already had an amazing experience in Israel. And just to help you with perspective, we don’t arrive in Jerusalem until Sunday.”

“Father, thank You that we get to see and experience the land of the Bible and walk the footsteps of our Savior!”

Lord, Open Our Eyes,
Pastor Ronny
Psalm 119:18

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