Wouldn’t it be deeply appealing to spend a night during a trip to Israel in the home where Jesus grew up, like a bed and breakfast inn? That is more fantasy than a real possibility. What is true, however, is that you can actually see the place and part of the structure of His home from over 2,000 years ago![Read more…]
At Long Last: Historical Bethsaida
How can one of the most prominent cities in the ministry of Jesus disappear for over 1700 years? In the New Testament, Bethsaida was the location of the feeding of the five thousand (Luke 9:12-17); where Jesus cured a blind man (Mark 8:22-25); and where He walked on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 6:45-51). Bethsaida was the home of the disciples Philip, Andrew, and Peter (John 1:44).
Bethsaida was also included in this startling judgement by Jesus:
Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes” (Matthew 11:20-23).
Is this the reason the location of Bethsaida was unknown for seventeen centuries?[Read more…]
Discovering the “Jesus Boat”
One of the arguments of critics regarding the accuracy of the records of the life of Jesus was the size of boats on the Sea of Galilee. Surely, they said, the New Testament claim that all twelve of the apostles plus Jesus Himself were in a boat together was false (John 6:16-21). The consensus of archaeologists was that fishing boats at the time of Jesus were not that large.[Read more…]
The Testimony of a Bulldozer
Since the time of Jesus, the region around the Sea of Galilee was only second to Jerusalem for interest to Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land. Locations north and west of the lake such as Capernaum, Magdala, Bethsaida, and Tiberius have nearly monopolized tourism.
Until recently, the absence of any significant archaeological discoveries on the eastern shore seemed to confirm this selective interest. As a result of recent excavations by the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums, however, it is becoming quite clear that the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee also played an important role in Jesus’ ministry.[Read more…]
What can we learn from this excursion “In the Footsteps of Jesus?” First, faith in the Gospel records of Jesus are completely warranted. They are the best historical records known from antiquity. As the physician and author of the third Gospel says, “…having investigated everything carefully from the beginning…so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:2-4).
Second, your faith is not in the history but in the person of Jesus who is documented in these records. As the apostle John says, “Many other things therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31).
Such is my prayer that all who read this study will discover new spiritual life “In the Footsteps of Jesus.”