(This is the fourth post in a series that is will now probably take me into 2012 to write. These are my thoughts/reflections/ramblings about my recent trip to Israel.)
The entire nation of Israel was amazing, and my time there will never be forgotten. There was not a day that went by in which I wasn’t blown away by the power of the land, and the power of the Word of God becoming 3D right in front of me. However, if I had to pick one place, one day, that overshadowed all the rest, it would have to be the day we went out on the Sea of Galilee.
There are many places in Israel where you hear “tradition tells us that Jesus did (insert event here) in this location.” There are few places where you hear “we know this is the place Jesus did (insert event here).” Most of the region of Galilee falls into this category. We know where Capernaum is. We know where the Mount of Beatitudes is. And there is no mistaking that the Sea of Galilee is THE Sea of Galilee.
We started the day at the Mount of Beatitudes, worshipping and reading the Word in a garden there. (Of course, there was a Catholic church built on the site, and I had my typical hard time with said building. For those that know me and know my past, it’s a remarkable thing that I find I really can’t go into these churches anymore. But that’s a post for another day.) There were also a couple of inside jokes that came about in that beautiful place (is that a frog?). Standing on the Mount, and looking south over the Sea, Jesus’ words that “a city on a hill cannot be hidden” come to life as you see the city of Tiberias (there then, there now) looming to the south-west.
It was an emotional day for us all, but I don’t think any of us were prepared for the way it would end. All of us “pilgrims” on a boat, in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, worshipping the Lord together. Let me tell you, standing up playing guitar on a wave-tossed boat is not as easy as it might seem. I was just praying I wouldn’t get sick and yak all over the boat, or on Pastor Rodney (I really like my job!).
Words can’t tell the emotion that, I believe, came over us all that day. The man that owned the boat we were on is a Messianic Jew, an Israeli who has accepted Jesus as his Messiah. He gave his testimony and then shared a couple of songs with us. As I sat there and listened to him singing “Kadosh” in Hebrew (Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God almighty), I was absolutely overcome. Again, there really aren’t words.
As we rode the waves on an absolutely gorgeous day, I couldn’t help but be struck by the thought of all that took place on this very lake. Jesus walked ON it, and so did Peter (for a minute). Storms were stopped and waves were calmed by the Creator of all riding a boat on these waters. The hills around me, the scene I was taking in, was taken in by the eyes of their Maker.
Jesus was there. Then and now.
I walked off that boat with my lunch where it belonged, but my soul was rattled and shaken, in a good way. I could have stayed at the Sea the rest of the trip and been content. But, there was so much more to see! Maybe I’ll write about it next month!