We began the day by on the Mount of Beatitudes. Pastor Mark delivered an excellent sermon that spoke of Jesus’ counter cultural call of the Kingdom life. While most great teachers and leaders avoided insignificant areas like Capernaum, Jesus did most of His ministry there. While most teachers went to the wealthy, affluent and politically strong, Jesus focus on the marginalized and outcast. He said to them –
Luke 6:20-21 (NASB95)
20 And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
To a people much like our own nation that sought after comfort, prestige and fame Jesus said.
Luke 6:22-26 (NASB95)
22 “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23 “Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. 24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. 25 “Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.
The point being that if you are seeking your kingdom in this world there is a woeful hell that awaits, but if you are seeking the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ this world is the closet thing to hell you will ever experience. There may be persecution, insults and scorn now but your reward is only magnified in the coming Kingdom.
After the teaching on the Mount of Beatitudes we went to the location of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. It was interesting to consider that the poor people who followed him were accustomed to poverty and going hungry a fact that he addressed in the Sermon on the Mount. As our guide said, these people didn’t forget to bring food they most likely had none to bring. They were hungry in a way that we will never understand as Americans. But Jesus fed them.
From there we went to the Sea of Galilee where we viewed a 2000 year old fishing boat much like ones used by Jesus and His disciples. We also took a ride on the Sea of Galilee in a similar boat. While on the boat I was asked to read a couple of passages of scripture and lead in a couple of hymns. It was a sweet experience.
We ended the day at the Jordon River where several people were Baptized. Pastor Mark taught on Repentance – the key message of John the Baptist. As much as I enjoy our time here, I cannot help but notice that EVERYTHING has been turned into a money making venture. It even cost a sheckle to go to the rest room. There is much Idolatry here as well as people seem to worship created places rather than the Creator. Three times people have attempted to cheat me out of money in these, “Holy” places. I suppose this was what motivated John to call those out to had a false outer shell of religion with no real heart change. To them he said,
Luke 3:7-14 (NASB95)
7 So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 “Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. 9 “Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” 10 And the crowds were questioning him, saying, “Then what shall we do?” 11 And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.” 12 And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.” 14 Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.”