Yesterday, we went to the sea of Galilee, Tabgha, Nazareth, and the Mediterranean sea (All of those places were pretty darn awesome!) in Israel.
We learned two interesting facts about Jesus. Maybe you many know one, maybe not! Anyways, I’m sure you will learn one fact!
Did you know these two things? One, that all of the preaching we have heard from the Bible and other history books about Jesus in Nazareth was done in only 1 year? And two, that once there were 10,000 people following Jesus? Here is a neat story from the Bible about Jesus. His disciples had said, “Jesus, my Lord, we have only five loaves of bread and two fish. How do we feed all these poor, hungry, people?” and Jesus said, “Do not fret, for God will help my dear followers, friends.” “Yes, my Lord.” So, at mealtime Jesus blessed the food, cut it up and had his disciples hand it out. Interestingly enough, he had enough food for all 10,000 people!
We went to the town called Tabgha. It is said that seven significant events happened there.
- The calling of the first apostles
- The sermon on the Mount
- The healing of the Leper
- The miracle of multiplication (Kids work hard! It really is a miracle to know times tables!)
- Jesus walks on water
- Meeting with Peter and his companions after resurrection
- The last appearance of Jesus in Galilee while 500 brethren were present
Next, was The Church of the Primacy of Peter. The Church of the Primacy of Peter is called this because Jesus was seen for the last time on Earth after his resurrection. The apostles were fishing and they could not catch any fish, and a man appeared on the shore who they did not recognize, but the man was Jesus. Jesus said cast your net on the other side of the boat and take it up and you will catch your fish. When they pulled their net up there were so many fish they could almost not pull the net up. Jesus says to Peter, “Peter, do you love me?” and Peter says, “Yes, Lord, I do.” and Jesus says, “Peter, do you love me?” and Peter says, “Yes, Lord, I do.” and Jesus says again, “Peter, do you love me?” and Peter says, “Yes, Lord, why do you ask me so many times, of course I love you!” Finally, Jesus says, “then guide my sheep.” When Jesus said, “guide my sheep,” he means for Paul to guide his disciples and followers and the people who were loyal to Jesus.
The Church of the Primacy of Peter had stained glass windows that represented the fire used for cooking of the fish. I also liked that the Church was small because there wasn’t too much space for so many people to be in at the same time. When we went to the shore of Galilee where Jesus appeared, the water that we stepped in felt holy. We tried to walk on water, but it didn’t work unless we stood on the rocks!
Next, we went to an awesome place called Nazareth. Nazareth means a branch of a family tree, and it is Jesus’ hometown even though he was born in Bethlehem. We were going through a reproduction of the town of Nazareth. We walked through the outside of Nazareth and saw many olive trees and a couple of almond trees. Afterwards, we got to see a cave that was like the one they buried Jesus in. We learned that Jesus was buried like a rich man even though he was not wealthy. They brought Frankincense and Myrrh to burn outside of his cave, too.
Then we went up to see the wine press. People back in the old days, after they harvested the grapes to make their wine, would take off their shoes and then they would smash the grapes with their feet. The reason they would crush the grapes with their bare feet was not because their feet were cleaner than their shoes but because their feet would not break the seeds in the grapes because that would make the wine taste bitter. After the wine press we went to the olive press.
There was a donkey tied to a stone in the basin and he would walk around in a circle and it would smash the olives. Then the people working the olive press would take the smashed olives and put them into a round barrel and then back into the press. They would press the olive oil three times. The first press was for the high priest in the temple. The second press was for cooking, cosmetics, and medicine. The third press was for light and oil lamps. Did you know that the oil from olive oil comes from the seeds?
Next, we saw a carpenter. A carpenter is a man who would chop wood and make stools, chairs, and structures for houses. We met a weaver, too. She showed how she spun the wool, how to stretch wool, how to use a loom to weave, and how to weigh the strings down. I thought it was a really smart skill that they figured out how to do so long ago.
Next, we went to a synagogue. When everyone arrived at the synagogue, our guide started singing a song. He had a deep voice and it kind of sounded like opera. Hearing him sing made me want to sing along—it felt like there was something in my throat that wanted to come out as a song. A synagogue is like a church for Christians, or a mosque for Muslims where Jews go to pray. Jesus said he was a prophet in a synagogue, and he talked to the Jews about God protecting everyone, not just the Jews. The Jews thought he was crazy to say that God would protect their enemies and that Jesus had to be a false prophet. The other Jews wanted to throw Jesus off a cliff, but Jesus was able to walk right out of town safely. The people in Nazareth were very clever back in their time.
We had learned many interesting facts that we didn’t know. I, for one, didn’t know Jesus had returned from the dead! Or that he could bless a small amount of food and make enough of it to give to 10,000 people. Jesus was amazing, and we had an awesome day learning about his life and where he lived and taught.
We spent the remainder of our evening swimming in the Mediterranean Sea in Tel Aviv. The water was beautiful and we really had fun re-connecting as a family after such a beautiful day learning so much about the past.