There is no greater story in all the world than the gospel message of Jesus. We sing a song called Tell Me the Story of Jesus.
"Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word, tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard." — David T. Clydesdale / Fanny Crosby / John R. Sweney
Truly, when we write that message on our hearts, and the hearts of our children, neighbors, and friends it will make a difference. It is a story of love, goodness, and salvation. Our world desperately needs to know about Jesus. We are going to preach about the necessity of one obeying the gospel, being baptized for the remission of sin, experiencing the new birth, and being born of water and the Spirit. That message of salvation must be preceded by a message of Jesus.
"And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." — Mark 16:15-16
That's at the end of the gospel of Mark. The gospel of Mark begins with a record of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Mark goes through and tells us all about who Jesus is and what He did. By the time you get to the end of Mark, because of what they've heard about Jesus, they will step out in faith and obey the command of God and be baptized.
We want to tell the story of Jesus, the greatest story ever told. But, we want to talk about it from a sort of pictorial perspective. We want to walk where Jesus walked.
I want to spend a little time talking about those early years, in the life and ministry of Jesus. And as we do b,e reminded and remind all of our friends who might have the opportunity to study with us, that these are real places where the story of the Bible took place in a real geographical setting and a real historical context.
See the Sermon Slides for: Bible Land Passages, Walking Where Jesus Walked, Part 1
See the entire Bible Land Passages Series
A few years ago, I was teaching a group of middle school students out in west Texas. There was a school that was started by members of the church. And a lot of the kids in this particular class, I was teaching this one lesson to, were not associated with the church.
I presented to them some of the things that we are going to see tonight and tomorrow night. The teacher had them write an impression paper about what they had seen. And they sent it to me in the mail. I got it back when I went back home. I got all these nice, you know, impression papers written by these middle school students. And it was such a delight to read them. But what amazed me is that about half of the kids writing that impression said we had no idea that there was a literal place called Jerusalem or Bethlehem. They just saw the Bible is a book of do's and don'ts, and this is what you need to do, and this is how you need to live.
They had no idea that it was connected to a real place, so we've got a lot of work to do out there.
A part of what we're trying to do tonight in this gospel meeting is to remind people of the validity of that stuff, of the reliability of scripture. So as we tell the greatest story ever told, and we walk where Jesus walked, I want to begin with a sea of Galilee.
- Psalm 19:1-3
And, truly the creation of the world is sort of God's braille to a blind humanity. God is crying out from the natural world saying, I Am here. I exist.
And when we look at the natural world, isn't it beautiful. It truly is. God's creative hand is so [beautiful], in the trees, and the lakes, and even in our own human bodies. We are; fearfully and wonderfully made. But, while I truly marvel at the fact that there is a Creator, and that you can't get designed without a Designer, I cannot know anything about God and His love for me and His will for me, by looking at the natural.
Truly I can know that He is great and powerful in that sense and a beautiful artist, but I can't know what he wants me to do to be saved. I can't know anything about the church or what it really means to follow God. And so how do I do that? Well, I need to look at Jesus. I need to think about the fact that when God sent his Son, Jesus, He did so to explain Him.
- John 1:18
Now the word, declared, comes from a Greek word, from which we get our word, exegesis. Exegesis is the process that a student of the Bible goes through in leading out the meaning of a particular passage. That process of thinking about the context and the meaning of words and the relationship of those words and thinking about the historical context and the larger literary context and so forth is this process known is known as exegesis. And when we go through that process, we are explaining to people what that passage means.
Jesus, according to this passage, is the exegete of God. He came to fully explain God to us. If I want to know something about God, then look at Jesus. And that's exactly what Jesus said to Thomas and Philip when he told them that He was the way the truth and the life and they ask, and he said, well, show us the Father and it will satisfy us.
And Jesus said anyone that has seen me has seen the Father. Jesus is God. He is the son of God. That doesn't mean that he didn't exist before God, the Father. But rather, it's a term of endearment, a term of interrelationship. So Jesus, as the Son of God, explaining God to us is pretty exciting. When you read the story of the Bible and particularly the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, what you are doing is getting a sort of window into the throne of God. You are being allowed to see the very nature of God. And it is truly marvelous. Because, as we're going to see tonight, this Jesus, is not only a good and compassionate man, but He is powerful, a man who can forgive sin, and a man who tells us more about the eternal home of the soul.
Walking Where Jesus Walked from Infancy through Ministry
So, what about the story of Jesus tonight as we think about the message that He came to bring to us about God?
- John 1:1-3
- John 1:14
- 1 John 1:1-3
He's talking about Jesus. In other words, when you read this book and when I share with you some things from this book tonight, you are getting an eyewitness account of people that were there, who saw it with their own eyes, who actually touched Jesus. That's pretty awesome to me.
Again, sometimes we just see this [the Bible] as a sort of information, black ink on a page. Some people think, okay, it's just a good book. It's more than just a good book. It is the Word of God. The Holy Spirit, inspiring men of God who were with Jesus, who were eyewitnesses, or who knew many people who had seen Him as well.
Walking Through the Story of the Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem
And so, we want to tell this story about Jesus and as we do, let's talk about a few things about his birth. The birth of Jesus is recorded in Matthew chapters, one through two, and in the first couple of chapters of Luke with the announcement and the arrival of Jesus in the city of Bethlehem.
Bethlehem is a real place. You can visit it today and you can see it, located just a little bit south of Jerusalem, about five miles. Today, Jerusalem is near and close to a field area. There's a fence there today that separates the west bank territory from Israel proper. But you can visit, Bethlehem, a thriving city, that has some countryside associated with it.
Bethlehem, The Place of His Birth
And also, a church building is there. It's one of the oldest church buildings or is the oldest church building in all of Israel. It dates back to about the fourth century A.D, and this particular church building here is called the church of the nativity. Because there is a tradition that says that Jesus was born in a cave. And later on, this cave was identified by a guy by the name of Jerome and others, who went there. When he translated the Latin Vulgate, or the scripture into Latin called the Vulgate. So this is kind of where he lived and eventually they built this church building over it, believing this to be the site. And if you go inside the church building today, it is quite ornately decorated. And underneath in the rostrum area or the area where the lectern is, you can go down below it and there are the remains of a cave and they built this sort of shrine over. It looks like a fireplace, doesn't it? But people actually go over there and they get down to the floor and there's a star over that marble area and you reach your hand down in there. And I did it just to see what was in there and you could feel a rock.
It is a traditional site.
I really, don't think that's where Jesus was actually born. We know he was born in Bethlehem. We don't know the exact location. But what we do know about the birth of Jesus, is that he did come to a town that was crowded with people during a worldwide census. The Bible clearly pinpoints that and we have history involved in when his birth took place.
We know that Ceasar Agustus commanded that this census, this counting of people be taking place and people had to return to their homelands. So a lot of people were going back to Bethlehem to be counted. And when they get there, they can't find any place to stay. And, they were, evidently, going to the family home.
So they, ended up, probably staying in the lower basement area.
The houses from the first century period were built usually with two or three stories. Animals were kept on the lowest floor and then maybe the family would stay on the next floor and then they might have a guest room even on top of the house.
And a number of these homes have been dug up by archeologists and they've been reconstructed. And then based on other historical writings, they have some idea of what a Palestinian home looked like during this particular period. So it could be that Jesus was born in just the lower level of a home belonging to one of his family members. And you can see old pictures of individuals taking up residence in an area where animals were housed in the lower sections.
In some of these older homes archaeologists have discovered, I showed this to you the other day, stone mangers. So some of the so-called nativity scenes that we often see today around Christmas time, have Him in these sort of wooden looking mangers and that isn't accurate. But, that's another story. These [stone mangers] were really more of the type of mangers that existed in the ancient world. And it just happens to be the right size for a little kid to be placed in. So maybe that's what Jesus was placed in when he was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.
Shepherds in the Field of Bethlehem
We also know that according to the Bible and Luke chapter two, there were shepherds in the field and they were out grazing, out there when they actually received the word about the birth of Christ. One of the arguments we used about why Jesus couldn't have been born on December the 25th, is because shepherds wouldn't have been in the field, grazing their sheep. We don't know when Jesus was born. The Bible doesn't tell us, but I hate to tell us I took a picture taken actually during December when shepherds are out in the fields grazing their sheep. Sometimes we pass along some myths and things that we need to be careful about. Nevertheless, we don't know when the birth of Christ was, but we do know that just like today, back then, shepherds were out there in the fields with their sheep.
The Visit of Wise Men and the Historical Record of Herod the Great
And, some wise men came from afar. We don't know how many there were What is most important about this scene is that they recognize the special day of what was happening with the coming of the Savior and they worshiped and they brought gifts and they first encountered a man by the name of Herod the Great.
The Bible mentions that when these wise men came to him inquiring about where this Savior was born, this King of the Jews. They probably pretty well knew that he had some ill purposes in mind and so they didn't return back the same way that they came. But the Bible mentions that Herod had babies killed.
And critics of the Bible said, well, that just doesn't make sense that some Jew would kill his own people, even though Herod was only a so-called half-Jew. He was an Idumean. But, if you read what Josephus says about Herod, you know, that he was an egomaniac, and he was also very fearful and was afraid that someone was going to take his kingdom. He was paranoid.
But not only that we know that he really existed because he did build large places for himself to go and relax and to have a fortress. There is one that's known as Herodium. And we also know because of a discovery made there about 15 years ago, that this is actually, or was the burial site of King Herod. He was a real person of history, just like the Bible says. He was in fact, the person placed over the authority of the Jews by the Roman empire.
He was a king of that area and he had this elaborate city built a huge mausoleum where he was going to be buried. And guess what? On top of this, what looks like a volcano, but it's not. He actually had a mountain moved over to a new location. So it is possible to move mountains. So he had a mountain moved so that his city would be in the view of Jerusalem. People that were far away, could look out there and see that little hilltop. You can see it today and maybe he wanted to be remembered throughout time.
I think in history, most people don't know much about Herod the Great, but they certainly remember Jesus Christ. And yet, as this particular Herodium was built, in this palace-like structure, what was found inside, by Ehud Netzer, was Herod's sarcophagus. And guess how he found it completely in pieces, utterly destroyed. Somebody was not happy about King Herod. And I can just imagine the Jews being upset, frustrated, and saddened over what he had done in killing all of those baby boys in Bethlehem. So Herod was a real person of history. The Bible is right. Speaks about some of the terrible things that he did. It's consistent with what we find in the archeological record.
The Infancy and Childhood of Jesus
Well, what about his infancy? After his birth is there any information that would help us to better understand those first few years of his life and things that occurred? What we do know is that eventually, his parents went back to Nazareth after having come back from Egypt after King Herod had died. Nazareth is a real place.
- Egypt, for the first year or so after birth
- Nazareth, eventually where they made their home
There is, actually, a body of Christians that meet there. It's the only congregation of the Lord's body in the entirety of Israel today. But, in Nazareth, there is a church building that's called the church of the enunciation. And again, just another element of tradition, probably not the case, but there could be something to it, there's a tradition that says, this is where Mary received the news about the announcement of Jesus' birth. It's the largest church building in, in all of Israel today. But, uh, but what is important is that this area exists. There is a large mountain that some people here consider to be the mountain where Jesus was taken and His enemies were going to throw him off the side of this large cliff. I don't personally think this is the one, but you can imagine Jesus going up there looking out over the Jezreel valley.
The Carpenter's Son
But what we do know about what the Bible says about Jesus is that he was the son of a carpenter. Now, it could be that Jesus worked with wood, I have no doubt that that was being utilized in some portions of a house. But, the primary building materials during the time of Jesus were still the limestone rock and also the basalt rock that was quarried out of the hillside in the Northern territory where Jesus lived. And we know that because of buildings that date to the time of Christ. So probably Jesus' dad was a craftsman, as some people translate that Greek word, not carpenter, but more like stonemason or a craftsman.
And if that was the case, you know, Jesus, and either way, grew up knowing how to work with his hands, understanding the concerns, and the plight of maybe the so-called common person. Jesus was a man that I'm convinced knew about daily life and how people were concerned about the rearing of their children and what it meant to work with their hands. This was a man that was not just someone that if you sort of blew on him, he'd fall over.
There are some pictures that people paint of Jesus that look very European and he's got long blonde hair and he's usually got blue eyes. That's nothing like Jesus. I'm sure Jesus didn't look anything like that. In fact, Isaiah tells us in chapter 53, that he's like a root out of a dry ground.
haven't seen very many pretty roots out of dry grounds before. Jesus was probably an ordinary-looking Jew with hair-cropped short, black hair, dark eyes, and probably calloused hands and a man that knew what it was like to work.
Jesus in Jerusalem
His parents brought Him up to Jerusalem to be presented at the temple as the required Jewish family was to do and according to Luke 2:41 [they did]. We have evidence of what that temple looks like based on the archaeological record, the writings of Josephus. And, we'll talk a little bit more about that tomorrow night.
Well, the temple was quite a sophisticated building and one that must have created a lot of awe as the disciples spoke about when they saw the buildings of the temple and were that in all of it. Imagine Jesus' parents coming here and coming to those steps. They're just beyond big, tall, menorah-looking light stands and they bring their child. Joseph would have gone further inside, to the court of the Israelites, to receive a blessing from the priest and to make their sacrifice for their son.
So we go from the birth of Christ to the early infancy, the Bible doesn't mention a whole lot about those early years, other than, uh, Jesus at the age of 12 being brought here to the temple. And I remember the story. His parents go home and they can't find Jesus his dad comes back and he finds him talking with the elders probably somewhere in the hall of hewn stone. We don't know exactly where that took place, but we have the infancy years and the adolescent years of Jesus.
Jesus' Preparation in the Wilderness
But then, the Bible jumps right into telling us about the years of preparation. The years when the time of John the baptizer came saying repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand the time when according to what Isaiah 40 spoke about and was fulfilled of a voice crying in the wilderness.
- John the Baptist
- Baptism of Jesus
- Temptation of Jesus
The Bible in introducing us to these first six months of Jesus' life before he begins his public preaching spends a lot of time talking about that ministry in the desert, in the wilderness area. In fact, that wilderness area is most likely where he spent a lot of time, we do know where part of it was, it was in this narrow strip of land, about 55 miles long and about 11 miles wide. It's wedged between the Dead Sea and the Judean hill country that's known as the wilderness of Judea.
Now, sometimes people when they hear that and they think about, and look at pictures, they go, why would anybody go out there to be baptized? Maybe the Bible's not right. Maybe, the baptism wasn't really an immersion at all. Maybe it was just sprinkling or something. Have you ever heard arguments associated with that?
John came out here preaching in the wilderness. Maybe Jesus was brought to a cave, like this one, the cave number four where the dead sea scrolls were discovered that I spoke about briefly on Sunday and was a very important discovery. This is a barren place, dry and inhospitable. And so, the question arises well, is there enough water out there to be baptized?
Let me tell you a story. Now, when I say a story, I mean, something is true. I'm not talking about a fable. The first time I ever went to Israel, I was with my brother and we had enrolled in a class at Jerusalem University. We were with a bunch of other students and one of the guys that had enrolled in the class was a professor at a denominational school in Alabama.
And as we're sitting around the breakfast table one morning, eating some of those cucumbers, remember that I told you about that? [We were] eating some cucumbers and eggs and whatever else was out there, Ken, his name is Dr. Ken, looks across the table and he says, John, Are you a dipper or are you a plunger? I knew he wasn't talking about plumbing terms. I said, well if you're talking about baptism, the Bible teaches it's by immersion, for buried into Christ Colossians 2:12. And he says, oh yeah, that's what you know, you guys, you know, over here in the west, think he was actually from Ireland originally. And he says, that's what you guys are in America think that the Jordan river is this mighty Mississippi river, the Jordan River is not nearly as big as everybody thinks it is. In fact, he said, it's like a trickle-down there.
Well, I said, Ken, I've never been to the Jordan river, yet, at that point, but I've seen pictures and it seems like to me that there's enough water. And he goes, well, yeah, there is up at a place called yard dent, just south of the Sea of Galilee. He said that the tourist board dug out a huge place and diverted the waters over there, and that's where people go to be baptized.
And you know, he's right. That's not really, the Jordan river, but waters diverted from the Jordan river over to there. But, this is a special place that was created by the tourist board and tourists go there to do that in Israel. So either they believe there's something special about that. And I said, well, can I look?
That may be true, but I've seen pictures and there's enough water in the Jordan River to be baptized. It doesn't take a whole lot of water to baptize somebody. Right? Jack baptized someone in a 55-gallon drum in India.
Well, what we need to know is that many places exist that are deep enough to immerse in the wilderness. It doesn't take a whole lot of water, but I'm telling you there's a whole lot more water than people realize out in the Judean wilderness. The Spring of En Gedi is deep enough to me. And that's just one among many of the springs that are found in the low oases scattered around the Judean wilderness. In Bible times, this wilderness area was known as a place of refuge. The Sinai wilderness, where the children of Israel wandered for 40 years was known as a place of death. But this place was known as a place of refuge. Yes, largely uninhabitable, but there are places if you know where the water sources are, you can go and find refreshment.
And not only that, but it is true that today, the Jordan River is reduced to not much than something wider than a few feed. And in a lot of places, it is the border from the sea of Galilee down to the Dead Sea, between the country of Jordan and Israel today. And it is very, very small in a lot of places, especially in times of drought.
It's quite disappointing as people are excited to go down there and see it. But you know, what's happening that wasn't happening 2000 years ago, farmers are irrigating. The country of Jordan is getting a lot of its water from the Jordan River. And also, there just happens to be a dam built at the southern end of the Sea of Galilee.
- They Built a Dam, the water is being held back.
- Farmers are Irrigating
And, there's not much water. I'm telling you that to say that when you read in the Bible, about people going out to the wilderness and they're baptizing, there were places where it could happen and you can trust the Bible. But sometimes we look at the Bible through our 21st-century glasses, or through some subjective sort of feeling that we may have, or a bias or prejudice that we may have. Like my friend Ken had.
We did eventually cross over the Jordan river a few days later over near the Allenby Bridge and I was quick to point out to Ken that it looks like enough water to baptize somebody there. And again, he kind of ducked his head as he knew that he wasn't accurate and correct.
Well, there are places near Abara not too far from Jericho, that have become quite popular, now for people to go to. And if you want to find a spot where Jesus was probably baptized, I would say it's in this stretch right along there. It makes sense, with the things that are revealed in scripture about where all he went and the places that existed there.
Maybe that'll give you an idea of where Jesus was baptized. The point is, is that he obeyed the commands of God. When John saw him, he said, I need to be baptized of you. But Jesus said, suffered to be so that we may fulfill all righteous. Jesus obeyed the commands of God. And I call upon our friends everywhere to do the same thing, to follow the example of Jesus and obey his commands and be baptized for the remission of your sins.
The Years of His Preparation
- John the Baptist
- Baptism of Jesus
- Temptation of Jesus
The Years of Jesus' Galilean Ministry
What about his Galilean ministry? Because after Jesus endured those temptations, after he was out in the wilderness, suddenly in Matthew chapter four, we burst onto the scene of Jesus becoming public with his teaching and his preaching.
- Matthew 4:17,23
He went to Capernaum and made his home there. And when he was around the sea of Galilee. A see that is about 13 and a half miles long and about seven and a half miles wide made up of freshwater. Called a sea because that's what ancient geographers called a large body of water. That's where Jesus began his public ministry.
- Plains of Genesseret
- Mount Arbel (likely site of Sermon on the Mount)
- Sea of Galilee
- Jordan River
- Beth Saida
Right near the base of Mount Arbel, an ancient Jewish village from the first century was found. Now, there are a lot of synagogues, old synagogues all around this area, but most of them are from the fourth or fifth century AD. There are now seven synagogues that have been found dating to the first century.
I mentioned that because you need to know that a number of years ago, I read an article about a critic who said the Bible again, uses an anachronism. That the guys that were writing the Bible just spoke of something that really didn't exist at the time of the Bible, but was written much later. [They say, there were synagogues in their mind and, and they saw it in the fourth and fifth century, and so when they wrote about Jesus going to a synagogue. They said it was kind of pictured as if it was a physical place. But, you know what? First-century synagogues have been discovered in the last 10 or 15 years. And one of them right here at a place called, Magdalena. It could be the place where Mary Magdalene was from. And they dug up this first century, synagogue, elaborately decorated, nobody doubts that that's the first-century synagogue.
First-century Archaeological Discoveries in Galilee
- First-century Synagogues
- Mikvahs, for ceremonial cleansing outside the synagogue (and temple) which could be used as baptistries.
- Christian symbols on walls, like a fish, and other symbols
Jesus came here and made Capernaum his home. And guess what is there as you go along the seashore, there is a synagogue that one's a fourth century, fifth century AD synagogue, but it is a city mentioned in the Bible.
Do you remember what Jesus said?
- Luke 17:1-2
From the city of Capernaum, the old city, you can turn right around and walk about 10 yards and you can stand out on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. I think there was a visual impact that resonated with those people. Sin is serious, not only is sin serious, but when we cause others to sin, Jesus said it's better that a millstone be tied about your neck and cast into the sea. The Sea of Galilee was a 144-foot-deep sea.
We all need to remember this. That sin has terrible consequences. And that's one of the great things this teaching about the ethics found in scripture is that it reminds us that not only are we to be right with God, but we're to be right with our fellow man, that we have an obligation and responsibility to treat them with respect and love and to not sin against. So, great lessons and messages were found in the area where these homes were located.
- Matthew 9:1-5
What else took place in this community right here in this little area? The Bible tells us about Jesus' being in a home, and there were so many guests there trying to listen to what he was saying. And, four men who were carrying a man that couldn't walk, couldn't get inside. And so they went up to the roof and they began to tear it apart. And you know, those roofs could be torn apart. Can you imagine Jesus sitting in that house and these four men letting down that paralyzed man in front of Him and Jesus saying your sins be forgiven you? Of, people being aghast, who can forgive sins, but God? That's right! Jesus is God.
Jesus performed miracles. He taught great lessons.
To the poor, to the blind, to those who could not walk, He cared about everyone. In fact, His ministry began by going to His hometown in Nazareth and reading from Isaiah the prophet about what would take place when His work began..., the blind would see, the broken-hearted would be healed.
- Sermon on the Mount
- Matthew 5-7
Jesus preached lessons around this area like the great Sermon on the Mount, He taught people about loving their neighbor, about being pure in heart, about truly walking, in a way that's acceptable to Him, to not walk in a broad way, but to walk in a narrow way that leads to life. These are some of the places where Jesus taught that great sermon.
- The Cove of the Sower
- Matthew 13:1-9
Down the road from Capernaum, there is this little natural cove. Many people identify it as a great location for fishermen to bring their boats and mend their nets. Not only because of the harbor but if you were to go there today and sit on the shore and then have someone stand on the hillside, and someone reads, they can easily hear what's being said, it's a natural amphitheater. Not only because of the shape of the land but with the winds blowing someone's voice off the sea of Galilee right up into that crowd. Because of that, a lot of people have identified this as the cove of the sower, where Jesus taught the parable about the man who went forth associate and some fell among the thorns and some fell into good soil and so forth.
What's interesting to me is that these places exist and that they are consistent with the story. You can imagine thousands and thousands of people gathered there pressing on Jesus to hear Him. And then what happens? He gets into. And pushes away just a little bit from the shore and he continues to preach.
- Jesus Calms the Storm on the Sea of Galilee
- Mark 4:35-41
Now, contrary to what some people think preaching is hard work, and sometimes you can get a little sleepy and tired. I know you can as the audience, but sometimes the preacher can too, as well. And after Jesus had preached there on that shoreline, the Bible says. They set sail across to go to the place of the Gadarenes. And as they set sail across it was evening and Jesus fell asleep in the hinder part or in the back part of the boat. As what could happen from time to time, a storm quickly erupted on the sea of Galilee.
Do you know how deep the sea of Galilee is? I know I told you it's 144 foot deep. But, I'm talking about the surface, it is 695 feet below sea level. Everybody knows the dead sea is below sea level, but the sea of Galilee is as well. And it's surrounded by this sort of coliseum of hills. And if you look to the north, there is a slight opening that goes up eventually through the Hula Basin up to Mount Herman which sits at about 9,700 feet above sea level. And sometimes, the wind off of Mount Herman can come down into that Hula basin and then get pushed into that small wedge sort of like a natural wind tunnel and come bursting out on the Sea of Galilee.
They set sail across, no doubt, when things were fine thinking he will have no problem getting across there, but suddenly a storm erupted. I would imagine they were pretty afraid in a little boat.
First-century Archaeological Discovery in the Sea of Galilee
- An ancient first-century boat
We know that boat, that Jesus was in, was probably a small size. Josephus tells us that there were boats around the Sea of Galilee for about 10 to 12 men could sit in. But, we know even more specifically because of what was discovered about 20 years ago in the mud of the Sea of Galilee. During a period of drought, a local man and his son were walking along the shoreline and they saw something sticking out of the mud, some wood they began to dig, and they found a boat. Then, a team of archeologists and others came to preserve it. They worked on it for days and finally lifted it out and encased it in foam for a while. And brought it down to a museum that they later had built called the Yigal Allon Museum. And now, that boat having been preserved is called the Jesus boat.
We don't know if Jesus was in that. But it is a boat, and no one disagrees, that came from the first century, a boat that many people believe was a fisherman's boat.
I would imagine it was fairly harrowing to sit and be in a boat like that out on that sea when the storms would arise. But remember what happened?
"Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” — Matthew 8:23-27
Now Mark and other writers tell us this event to remind us of the power and the authority that Jesus had, not only over the demonic world, and the world of disease, but over the natural world of storms.
There's something I want to finish with tonight about this story. That these accounts tell us not only about a very unique man who was more than a man, but He was the Man,—God. But it also reminds us of the things that we face in life and the storms that we sometimes have, Jesus can calm those.
Aren't we like the disciples sometimes that get in our boat, sail across a sort of the lake of life and things are calm, but like the storm on the Sea of Galilee that suddenly came out of nowhere, so a storm can arise in our own life. Can seemingly come out of nowhere, and maybe in the midst of that chaos, or that turmoil in our life we feel like our boat is beginning to sink and maybe we're like the disciples and we cry out and we say, Lord, don't you care that we're perishing? You know, the Lord does care. He cares about everything that you struggle with. He cares about all the things that you face. And it is in the midst of all of that, that we must not let the physical world around, we prevent us from remembering the words of Christ and the peace that can be found in those words. If Jesus could rebuke the wind on the sea of Galilee and cause it to stop as He did, don't you think he can cause the storms to stop or that we can endure them and we can make our way through by listening to the power of His word.
- Sword of the Spirit, Ephesians 6:17
- Word of God, Hebrews 4:14
- Can produce faith, Romans 10:17
- Means by which we are born again, 1 Peter 1:22
- Can cleanse our hear, John 15:3
- Sanctifies us, Acts 20:28
"Oh, how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day." — Psalm 119:97
Because it will help you that you trust in it. Do you know why you can trust in it? Because the man who gave it, the Holy Spirit that revealed it, our Heavenly Father who sent that Spirit to guide these apostles into all the truth has given us a message that we can have confidence in, that's rooted in history, in geography, to know the promises made here can also be trusted.
I hope that you are trusting God tonight. If you're not, and you're going through maybe a storm in your life or some problem, and especially if the storm is sin, why don't you let Jesus quell that storm tonight by confessing your sin? If you're not a Christian by being baptized for the remission of your sins. If you are a Christian, being restored to Christ.
Whatever you need may have, we would love to meet with you, to help you, please contact us.
— John Moore, Director of Bible Land Passages and Bible Passages.