Quiet Time On The Sea of Galilee
The team is doing great, thank you for your continued prayers! Please pray as we have many people hearing the clear teaching we are giving at each location about the Good News of Jesus Christ. Continue to pray for the people of Israel, that God would soften their hearts and open their eyes to respond to the Gospel. Pray for our team as we need strength and endurance over these next few days. Your prayers are deeply appreciated.
Our day began with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Here we spent time reviewing passages where Jesus and His disciples were on the Sea. We picked up our theme of authority and Lordship today as we saw how Jesus demonstrated his authority over the sea and weather. Matthew writes,
“And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”” (Matthew 8:23–27, ESV)
We also reviewed a familiar passage where Jesus walks on water, again affirming his authority and Lordship over the sea. Matthew writes,
“Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”” (Matthew 14:22–33, ESV)
With this background, we spent some time discussing the implication of Jesus being Lord. It was not a question of if He was Lord, but rather would we submit to His Lordship. We have already seen, Jesus is Lord over the spirit realm, Lord over sickness, and now Lord over creation. This was another great picture of how Jesus’ earthly ministry was a validation of who He was, He was Lord.
We continued with our theme of “Discipleship” by focusing on what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus in the first century. We looked at Jesus calling the first disciples from the Sea of Galilee, near Capernaum. Luke writes,
“On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.” (Luke 5:1–11, ESV)
We closed out our time on the boat reflecting on how Jesus called us to salvation, thus making us His disciples. When Jesus called the first disciples they left everything, and became fisher’s of men; how much more should we consider the meaning and cost of being a disciple of Jesus.
Teaching On The Cost of Discipleship at Mt. Arbel
Climbing Down Mt. Arbel (The Cost of Discipleship)
From the boat ride we departed and went to Mt. Arbel, a mountain overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Mt. Arbel is just above a traveling route Jesus and his disciples would have walked through on their way to Nazareth. This is one of my favorite locations to consider being a disciple of the Jesus. Here you can overview the entire Galilee region and gain insight into the area and geography of Jesus’ ministry. Mt. Arbel is also very physically challenging, most tour groups never go to Arbel…lol;), but we are not most tour groups!
The top of Mt. Arbel was the context for discussing the “cost of discipleship”. Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” In the cultural context of Christianity many of us live in, the concept of dying through discipleship, is one that gets little attention. There is a cost of following the Lord Jesus as we see in these verses from the New Testament,
“Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:25–33, ESV)
“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24–26, ESV)
“As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”” (Luke 9:57–62, ESV)
We finished our teaching time and then took the very challenging climb and hike down Mt. Arbel. As Isaac and I were climbing down Mt. Arbel, a great picture of discipleship hit me as I told Isaac, “Put your hands exactly where dad puts his hands, and put your feet exactly where dad puts his feet.”
Isaac and Dad Climbing Down the Cliffs of Arbel
Immediately after our hike down Mt. Arbel, we traveled to Tabgha, the traditional location of the feeding of the 5000 and Jesus’ restoration and re-commission of Peter in John 21. This is certainly one of my favorite places as it is a tremendous reminder of restoration as Christ appears to Peter after the resurrection and calls him back to service. This area is also widely thought to be the location where Jesus felt compassion on the people as they followed his ministry, and provided a miraculous meal from 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.
“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15–17, ESV)
“And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.” (Mark 6:31–44, ESV)
Teaching on Mark 6 and John 21 at Tabgha in Galilee
Teaching In Capernaum
Teaching In Capernaum
After lunch we went to the town of Ancient Capernaum, the base of ministry for Jesus. This town is the home of Peter, it is where Jesus spend much of his Galilean ministry. We could actually spend a day at Capernaum reviewing the texts and taking in the archeology from the Ancient city, it is a tremendous teaching tool to really grasp the context of Jesus’ Galilean ministry. Several stories were highlighted; the healing of the Centurion’s servant, the healing of the paralytic, and the healing of the woman who had the issue of blood. These are just a few of the texts that happen in Capernaum, this was a highlight for many in our group, as they visualized the ministry of Jesus in this first century town on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
“After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.” (Luke 7:1–10, ESV)
“And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”” (Mark 2:1–12, ESV)
“And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.” (Luke 8:43–47, ESV)
Teaching at The Mt. of Beatitudes (Sermon On The Mount, Matthew 5-7)
We finished our day at the traditional location of the Sermon on The Mount from Matthew 5-7. Here we read much of the text as we considered Jesus powerful teaching on our witness, relationship, character, faith, and how the cost of following Him. We closed out our time, reflecting on how Jesus used the Sermon On The Mount to also reveal we could not possibly keep His commandments on our own. We spent some time reflecting on how this helps us recognize our need for Christ and the power of the Gospel in our lives. We can never gain righteousness from the Law or our flesh driven obedience, we can only gain righteousness through Christ. We recognize it is not by our power or might that we can live out God’s commands, but Christ in and through us as we demonstrate the power of the Gospel.