Today we focused on sites related to the Biblical passages concerning Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem. Our goal was to understand why He was crucified, how He was buried, and what it meant to the Jewish people of the First Century that He was raised from the dead. We began our day with a panoramic overlook of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, the site of Jesus’ ascension to heaven and His future second coming. After viewing a tomb from the time of Jesus, we walked down the Mount of Olives to Gethsemane. Next we crossed the Kidron Valley and entered the Old City through Stephen’s Gate, stopping to examine the remains of the Pool of Bethesda. We walked parts of the Via Dolorosa, stopping at several of the places mentioned in the Bible, and arrived at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the most likely site of the burial and resurrection of Jesus. We visited St. Peter in Gallicantu, a possible site of the prison where Jesus was held. We ended our tour with a reflective time at a site that wonderfully illustrates Jesus’ burial and resurrection, the peaceful Garden Tomb. Overnight: Christ Church Guesthouse, Old City, Jerusalem
We spent our morning at the Israel Museum, home of the Second Temple Jerusalem model and the Shrine of the Book, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed. In the afternoon we headed to Yad VaShem, the Israel Memorial Museum to the Holocaust. Here we examined the spiritual and theological roots of the most notorious genocide in history and the connection between the Church, Jesus and the Jewish people. In the evening we expanded our understanding of the role of the Lamb of God by celebrating a Jewish Passover Seder meal together, making Biblical connections to the “last supper” that Jesus shared with his disciples. Overnight: Christ Church Guesthouse, Old City, Jerusalem
Today was devoted to learning about Jerusalem in Jesus’ day, when the Temple in Jerusalem was the center of Jewish life. An early start took us up to the Temple Mount, where we considered some of Jesus’ activities there, as well as the claims of Islam. After our visit to the Western Wall place of prayer, Judaism’s most holy site, we visited the excavations near the base of the Temple Mount and discussed Pentecost on the Southern Steps where Jesus walked. We enjoyed a free afternoon with great discussion and small groups exploring the city.
On Saturday, we discussed the temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness, hiked and explored Masada and enjoyed an afternoon floating in the therapeutic mineral rich waters of the Dead Sea!
Sunday we journeyed to Jerusleum in time to Worship at Christ Church. We then traveled to Bethlehem where we visited Shepherds Field and Church of the Nativity, spending the evening in Jerusalem.
Today we left the Galilee and journeyed south down the spectacular Syrian African Rift Valley to the Dead Sea in the arid
Judean wilderness. We studied the cultural tensions that existed at the time of Jesus, both between Greco-Roman culture
and Jewish culture (and later the early church), and also between the Jewish religious establishment of the day and various
spiritual reformers. At the Jordan River, we discussed the ministry of John the Baptist and his relationship with Jesus.Our next stop was the Biblical city of Beit Shean to examine the visually impressive excavations of its Roman-Byzantine period when it was one the ten Hellenistic cities of the Decapolis. We continued down the Jordan Valley to the arid Judean Wilderness, and passed by the region of Jericho – the oldest and lowest city on earth. Our last visit of the day was be Qumran, likely the home of the Essenes, a First Century Jewish sect which may have influenced early Christianity, and the site of the most exciting
archaeological discovery ever made in Israel – the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Our day was spent exploring Northern Israel, one of the most beautiful regions of the country. We began by climbing up to the magnificent Golan Heights and visiting a reconstructed Talmudic village at Katzrin, where we will took a closer look at life in New Testament times and the use of everyday imagery in Scripture. We then traveled along the lower slopes of Mount Hermon – Israel’s highest mountain, and the most likely site of the Transfiguration. Our next stop was Caesarea Philippi, in the region where Peter made his famous confession that Jesus is the Messiah. Along the way, we passed Druze Villages before coming to Mt. Bental, a lookout spot near the border with Syria and the area of the road to Damascus where the Apostle Paul met the Lord. Our final stop was the Dan Nature Reserve, where we saw the incredible archaeological remains of the OT city of Dan, including the city gate from the time of Abraham, and considered ancient Israel’s apostasy.
Today was spent visiting various sites around the Sea of Galilee as we tried to picture daily life and religion in the First Century, and sought to better understand the miracles and teachings of Jesus in His original Jewish context. We started the day at Chorazin, the well-preserved ruins of a typical Galilean village, where we studied village life, Jewish religion, and the Pharisees. Our second stop was the Mount of Beatitudes, traditional site of the Sermon on the Mount, where we considered the Kingdom of God in Jesus’ teachings. After a short walk/drive down the hill, we arrived at Capernaum, the town where Jesus lived during the majority of His ministry. At lovely Tabgha, which commemorates the multiplication of loaves and fish, and where Jesus met the disciples after the resurrection, we enjoyed a contemplative time on the shore of the Lake. Later in the afternoon, we visited Kibbutz Ginosar to see the “Jesus Boat”, a Galilean fishing boat from the First Century. From there we set sail for a boat ride on the Lake to enjoy the views and some worship, prayer and reflective time. After dinner we met with a local believer. Overnight: Ma’agan Holiday Resort, Sea of Galilee
Today was spent in Caesarea Maritima (where the Holy Spirit came upon the Gentiles [Acts 10], and where Paul preached to Felix and Festus [Acts 26]), Mount Carmel (where the story of Elijah and the false god, Baal, took place), Sepphoris, and Nazareth (where Jesus spent His childhood). This morning's devotion was about the Land of Canaan from Numbers 13. We're off to an exciting start!