Israel Day 4: Mt. Arbel, Capernaum, Mt. of Beatitudes, Sea of Galilee

We are having an incredible time in Israel!  God has really begun to show our group alot in their lives about what it truely means to be “Gospel Driven”!   Today we covered close to 7 miles on foot and explored the teachings of Jesus as he ministered in the Sea of Galilee region giving attention to various texts and traditions from his day. Sites included:  Capernaum, Mt.of Beatitudes (Sermon on the Mt.),  an ancient boat museum, a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and a hike from Mt. Arbel. Themes for the day were restoration, reconciliation, discipleship, miracles, and justice modeled by Christ in Northern Galilee.   Please continue to pray for our group as some have been a bit ill.  Pray for health and endurance as we head south toward the Dead Sea!

 Mt. Arbel


Teaching time at Mt. Mt Arbel Image

Learning that Being a Disciple is Costly 


Lesson: Discipleship: The Model of Jesus

Two thousand years ago, Jesus walked up to a handful of men and said, “Follow me.”

Imagine being one of those original disciples. They were ordinary people like you and me. They had jobs, families, hobbies, and social lives. As they went about their business on the day Jesus called them, none of them would have expected his life to change so quickly and completely.

The disciples could not have fully understood what they were getting into when they responded to Jesus’s call. Whatever expectations or doubts, whatever curiosity, excitement, or uncertainty they felt, nothing could have prepared them for what lay ahead. Everything about Jesus—His teaching, compassion, and wisdom; His life, death, 

and resurrection; His power, authority, and calling—would shape every aspect of the rest of their lives. In only a few years, these simple men were standing before some of the most powerful rulers on earth and being accused of “turn[ing] the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). What began as simple obedience to the call of Jesus ended up changing their lives, and ultimately, the world.

What Is a Disciple?

What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? As you will discover, the answer is fairly simple, but it changes your life completely. The word disciple refers to a student or apprentice. Disciples in Jesus’s day would follow their rabbi (which means teacher) wherever he went, learning from the rabbi’s teaching and being trained to do as the rabbi did. 

Basically, a disciple is a follower, but only if we take the term follower literally. Becoming a disciple of Jesus is as simple as obeying His call to follow. When Jesus called His first disciples, they may not have understood where Jesus would take them or the impact it

would have on their lives, but they knew what it meant to follow. They took Jesus’s call literally and began going everywhere He went and doing everything He did. It’s impossible to be a disciple or a follower of someone and not end up like that person. Jesus said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). That’s the whole point of being a disciple of Jesus: we imitate Him, carry on His ministry, and become like Him in the process. 

Yet somehow many have come to believe that a person can be a “Christian” without being like Christ. A “follower” who doesn’t follow. How does that make any sense? Many people in the church have decided to take on the name of Christ and nothing else. This would be like Jesus walking up to those first disciples and saying, “Hey, would you guys mind identifying yourselves with Me in some way? Don’t worry, I don’t actually care if you do anything I do or change your lifestyle at all. I’m just looking for people who are willing to say they believe in Me and call themselves Christians.” Seriously? No one can really believe that this is all it means to be a Christian. But then why do so many people live this way? It appears that we’ve lost sight of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. The concept of being a disciple isn’t difficult to understand, but it affects everything.- Francis Chan


Luke 9:57–62 (ESV), Luke 14:28–33 (ESV), Luke 9:23–25 (ESV)

I. Gospel-Driven People Believe Being A Disciple is Not Optional.

Jesus says that if anyone would come after me, he must follow me. If you want to come after me—it’s a general term—if you want to have any experience of me, any relationship with me, you have to be a disciple. There are not two kinds of Christians: regular Christians and people who are really disciples. There’s only one: to be a Christian is to be a disciple. To have anything to do with me is to follow me in the way I define it: setting a new priority, finding a new identity, experiencing living out of a new mercy.- Tim Keller

II. Gospel-Driven People Recognize Being A Disciple is A Journey.

III. Gospel-Driven People Realize Being A Disciple is Costly.

IV. Gospel-Driven People Understand Being A Disciple is Not A Program But It Is Intentional

V. Gospel-Driven People Recognize Being A Disciple is Conforming To Jesus

Teaching at Mt. Of Beatitudes (Sermon on the Mount)


Lesson: The Sermon On The Mount- The Need For The Gospel, The Fruit of The Gospel, and The Witness of The Gospel

Jewish Rabbinical Practice: “Pearl Stringing”

John MacArthur on Pearl Stringing from James, (charaz)

Even if this outline were used, however, the expositor could fail to convey adequately, if not personally understand, the author’s logical development. This section of James 1, and indeed the whole book, is not outlined according to western standards. This structure, and therefore our preaching on the chapter, should be characterized more as “a string of pearls,” since that is what it is…. Following a beautiful string of precious jewels like this is an important part of an exposition of this passage and others like it.

I. The Sermon on The Mount Reveals Our Need For The Gospel.

Matthew 5:1–12 (ESV), Matthew 5:17–20 (ESV), Matthew 5:21–22 (ESV), Matthew 5:27–28 (ESV), Matthew 5:38–48 (ESV)

II. The Sermon On The Mount Reflects The Fruit of The Gospel.

Matthew 6:1–21 (ESV), Matthew 6:25–34 (ESV), Matthew 7:24–27 (ESV)

III. The Sermon on The Mount Requires The Witness of The Gospel.

Matthew 5:13–16 (ESV)



Site of Peters House


Ancient Synagogue Near Peters House


Lesson: Capernaum: The Base of Gospel Proclamation And Demonstration

Matthew 4:12–13 (ESV), Matthew 9:1 (ESV), Luke 4:23 (ESV), Mark 2:1–12 (ESV), Luke 7:1–10 (ESV)

Everyone Needs The Answer To Two Questions:

1) Can I be forgiven of my sins?

Sin is our greatest problem.

Sin is our greatest enemy.

Sin separates us from God.

Sin renders us spiritually dead.

Sin, not forgiven, results in eternal death in a place called hell.

Sin shatters relationships, causes us to think foolishly, leads us to make bad choices and decisions, moves us to act in evil and destructive ways.

2) Who can forgive me of my sins?

I. Gospel Centered People Realize The True Needs of People.

II. Gospel Centered People Are Compelled To Action For The Sake of Others.

III. Gospel Centered People Believe In The Authority of Christ To Forgive Sins. 

Isaiah 35:6 (ESV)

Boat Ride on Sea of Galilee


Casting Nets


Ancient Boat Excavated in the Sea of Galilee


Mural of what the boat would have looked like



1. Measurements

a. 13 miles long

b. 5 to 8 miles wide

c. 32 miles around

d. 150 feet deep (varies 60–156 ft.)

e. 630 feet below sea level—The lowest sweet water lake in the world

2. Names

a. The Sea of Chinnereth (Kinneret)—Numbers 34:11; Joshua 11:2; 12:3; 13:27

b. The Lake of Gennesaret—Luke 5:1

c. The Sea of Tiberias—John 6:1; 21:1

d. The Sea of Galilee—Matthew 4:18; 15:29

3. Marked the eastern border of the Land—Numbers 34:11

4. Marked the boundary of the Transjordanian Tribes—Deuteronomy 3:17; Joshua 12:3; 13:27

5. Major area of Jesus’ ministry—Matthew 4:18; 15:29; Mark 1:16; 7:31

6. Site of the drowning of the pigs—Mark 5:1–20; Luke 8:26–39

7. Jesus frequently crossed this sea—Matthew 8:23; Mark 8:10; Luke 8:22; John 6:1

8. The miracle of the stilling of the waters—Matthew 8:23–27; Luke 8:22–25

9. Jesus walked on the water—Matthew 14:22–33; John 6:16–21

10. Miracle of the enormous catch—Luke 5:1–11

11. Miracle of Peters fish—Matthew 17:24–27

12. Jesus gave Peter his lesson on feeding the sheep—John 21:1–23

13. Jesus’ Ministry

a. 19 of 32 parables

b. 25 of 33 miracles

14. The rabbis teach: The Lord created seven seas but the Sea of Gennesaret is His delight

15. The sudden storms on the sea are called Sharkia, Arabic for “east”

16. Key Cities

a. Tiberias

b. Migdal-Magdala (Tarichae)

c. Caparnaum

d. Chorazin

e. Bethsaida

f. Gergasa

g. Gamla

h. Hippos-Susita

i. Kinneret

17. The Fishing Industry

a. Contains 18 species, 10 of which are commercially important

b. The edible fish fell into three main categories

(1) Musht—Five species including St. Peter’s fish

(2) Biny (Barbels)—Three species of the carp

(3) Sardines—Two species

c. It contains catfish which cannot be eaten by Jews and so they are not as                                    commercially important

Lesson: Calming The Sea And Walking On Water: Jesus Is Lord

I. Gospel-Driven People Recognize Jesus As Lord.

II. Gospel-Driven People Respond To Jesus As Lord.  

III. Gospel-Driven People Rely On Jesus As Lord. 


About George Ross

I am a pastor, church planter, husband, and father of four.
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