Wednesday, April 22, 2009

wild olive trees!

Today we began our day by visiting Mount Beatitude where it is believed that Jesus taught in Matthew 5. There is a Catholic church built on this site and it is a place where they continue to hold services as well. We then headed to the Church of the Five Loaves and Two Fish where they have memorialized the feeding of the 5000 by Jesus. We spent time reflecting on an olive tree which will be a great illustration when I teach on Romans 11. We are the wild olive tree that God has grafted into his own good tree. It is also a reminder how God longs for the Jews to return to where they belong.

For if God was willing to take you who were, by nature, branches from a wild olive tree and graft you into his own good tree - a very unusual thing to do- he will be far more eager to graft the Jes back into the tree where they belong. Romans 11:24

Even before this reminder I find myself praying often as I see the Jewish people all around me that their eyes would be open to the wonderful realization that Jesus is the Messiah

From here we visited the ancient ruins of the village of Capernaum and it was quite incredible to see the foundation from these very small homes as well as an octagonal shaped one that is to believe the home where Peter grew up. In the home they discovered graffiti type writing with both the name of Jesus and Peter found there.

After Capernaum we hopped on a boat for a trip on the Sea of Galilee which by far was the highlight of the day. It was an amazing ride and they were ready for us rising the Canadian flag on the boat and playing our anthem for us. In the middle of the lake we stopped for a time of prayer and meditation as Pastor Billy read from Matthew 14. There was a man as well who showed us what it might be like for fisherman to fish and demonstrated the process. He almost caught one but it got away.

We followed that ride by going to a museum where they have the remains of a first century fishing boat. It was dredged up in 1987 after a very dry season when it was discovered in the muck of the sea. It was quite amazing to see. it isn't confirmed that Jesus was in this boat...but it certainly was the type that he would have stood in to speak to the crowds.

From there we visited the ancient ruins of Phillipi and then we travelled up to the Golan Heights where we had a breath taking view of the snow covered Mount Hermon. We also listened to our tour director share in detail the fascinating 6 day war and the battles that took place in this very part of the land as recently at 2006 and in 1973 where we walked through the bunkers on top of a very high point there.....

more pictures tomorrow as we will be off to the Jordan River, Nazareth and into Jerusalem.



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