Seriously though. After being scared pants-less, Jesus tries to calm the disciples, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid." He invites Peter to join him after Peter challenges Jesus by saying, "If it's really you, command me to come to you on the water."
Of course, Jesus does just that. "Come." Peter steps out of the boat, even walks on the raging sea and then... "Oh no!! The wind." Jesus has conquered the wind, the water, the waves. Because of his faith in Jesus, Peter even conquers the water and the waves, but the wind... That's where the doubt set in.
John Ortberg wrote a book entitled If You Want to Walk On Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat. How true that title fits to our lives! People often criticize Peter for losing faith when he sees the wind, but he was the only disciple to actually get out of the boat, trusting that Jesus would keep his feet on top of the sea. How often is it that we don't even trust Jesus enough to take us out of the boat? Moreover, how often is it that we lose sight of Christ and BOOM. We collapse into the water because we shift our focus off Christ and onto the wind, or the obstacles in life.
Fear overcomes our faith.
My favorite part of this story is that after Peter loses faith, he falls into the sea crying for Jesus to save him. Jesus reaches his hand out to Peter, saving him from the brutal waters and says, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" Is that not one of the most beautiful portrayals of Jesus? He's showing compassion, grace, redemption, salvation, and mercy to a regular guy that just lost his focus for a bit. Praise God that He desires to save us and redeem us regardless of the countless times we doubt in our God of Salvation!
The wind ceases and every man in that boat begins crying out in worship, "Truly you are the Son of God!!"
There are so many other wonderful stories about the Sea of Galilee. If you want to check it out, the passages about Jesus walking on water can be found in Matthew 14, verses 22-33. We realize that our posts are excruciatingly long so we're trying to render that. However, we want to lead you to some other passages that took place at the Sea of Galilee. You can check them out here:
- Jesus speaks to the multitude from Peter's boat (Mark 3:7-12, Luke 5:1-3)
- Jesus calms the storm (Matthew 8:23-27)
- Jesus appears here after the resurrection (Mark 14:28, John 21:1-23)
And a little quick fact about the Sea of Galilee... This fresh water lake has many names. However, the Israelites call the sea "Lake Kinneret", which means harp, because of its harp-shaped shoreline. Anyone else think it kind of looks like Africa too?... Or is that too far of a stretch?
Date: Thursday, April 19
Time: approx. 7 p.m.
Place: Publix Grocery Store
As we're strolling through the produce aisle, JD looks over and says, "Whit, I know you love having fresh flowers sitting out when we have house guests. Pick out a few bouquets. Theresa and Brandon will love it."
And there it was. My heart melted. Affirmation that, yes, my husband gets me. For the most part, he understands me and he is intentional about satisfying my wants when the opportunity knocks. We both realize that we will always have more to learn about one another and that we will never fully know one another.
But that's the journey of marriage.
The sweet journey can be heart-wrenching, in both a great and a terrible way. It's a journey of patience, understanding and surprises. We're constantly learning to love and to be intentional with one another.
Intentionality says, "Hey. I get you when nobody else does. I brought you these bouquets of assorted flowers - but not roses because I know you think they are too cliche."
Intentionality says, "I'll put these dishes up for her while she's not looking. It's my way of serving her and loving her even if she doesn't notice." (I always notice though... haha)
There are so many ways to simply love each other - date nights, chasing each other around the kitchen, leaving notes for each other in special places.
How do you leave a mark of unpredictability in your relationship?
**We are super excited about Brandon and Theresa coming to visit this weekend!!! This will be their first time to see our home. Theresa is JD's sister and one of my best friends. Brandon is her husband, one of JD's college roommates and one of his best friends as well. Great families... that is a blessing. ;)
This place was much more beautiful than we thought it would be.
Bountiful gardens surround the church. We stood where Jesus preached about the Beatitudes, also known as the Sermon on the Mount. (See Matthew 5:1-12)
How cool is that? There is also a Roman Catholic Franciscan church that we got to enter. I felt a little weird because I was wearing my hiking shorts and there were signs that said guests could not enter the church if they have no sleeves, exercise attire or short shorts. I hadn't brought a change of clothes after our strenuous walking and hiking around the Bet She'an.
Note to Self: Pack a knee-length cotton skirt just in case you go to another site like this.
The guys said it would be fine, so I trusted them and went in anyways. I'm pretty sure God cleared out the nuns for a few minutes so that nobody would deny my entrance.
It was quite peaceful in the church. JD and I sat on a pew and prayed together. We love praying as husband and wife. This church is a true place of reverence.
Aren't these gardens just stunning? Oh - what's that body of water peeking from below the surface?
Why that's the Sea of Galilee!
More on that next Tuesday.
Capernaum is a pretty epic place.
It was Jesus' next destination after leaving Nazareth. In fact, Capernaum was the central location of Jesus' ministry for the last 18-20 months of His life on earth. It was here that Jesus told Simon and Andrew, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men." In other words, this is where Jesus gathered His group of disciples and called them to action (Matthew 4 and 9).
Jesus performed more miracles in Capernaum than any other location, including:
- Healing a man with an unclean demon in the synagogue (Luke 4:31-37)
"Be silent and come out of him!" Jesus rebukes the man who is mocking Him. We love when Luke describes the witnesses by saying, "They were amazed and said to one another, 'What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!'" Luke says that Jesus' word astonished the crowd, for it possessed authority. Instantly, the grapevine started growing into every place in the surrounding region with people talking about what they had seen. That is Jesus. Our Savior with power and authority. Is your soul stirring yet?
- Healing Simon's mother-in-law, and then many (Luke 4:38-41)
How beautiful is this story? It seems to be early morning ("and he arose") when Jesus walks into Simon's house and finds that Simon's mother-in-law has a high fever (Jesus probably knew about Simon's mother-in-law prior to walking into the house, since it's Jesus and all). Jesus heals her and "immediately she rose and began to serve them (vs. 39)". No recovery phase or anything like that. She just gets up and actually begins serving them, offering them some hot tea and crumpets (well, the latter part may not be 100% accurate). Then the sun is setting (a full day) and people began bringing sick and demon-possessed friends and family to the Son of God. And He touches and heals every one of them (vs. 40). That is Jesus. The ultimate Healer.
- Healing a centurion's servant (Matthew 8:5-13)
In case you're wondering, a centurion is the commander of a century in the ancient Roman army. But seriously? Have you read this story lately? Here comes the centurion, asking Jesus to heal his servant who is laying in bad - paralyzed - and suffering terribly. And Jesus is like, "Sure. I'll come to your house." But no. The centurion says he is not worthy of Jesus entering his home. Instead, how about Jesus just say the word and his servant will be healed, with miles between them. Even Jesus is marveled by this man's faith and tells the centurion, "'Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.' And the servant was healed at that very moment. (vs. 13)" That is Jesus. The One who responds to our faith by being faithful.
- Matthew 9:18-26 - Jesus raises a woman from the dead
- Matthew 9:20-22 - Jesus heals the woman who suffers from a discharge of blood
- John 4:46-54 - Jesus heals an official's son
In many of these stories, Jesus responds to believers by saying, "Take heart, your faith has made you well. (Matthew 9:22)" We are baffled and encouraged by these believers with such immovable faith.
Has Jesus ever responded to your prayers in this way?
When you talk to Jesus and ask Him for healing (not just physically, but emotionally or spiritually), do you have absolute faith in Him that He will heal you?
What's holding you back from surrendering completely to Him and trusting that He will be faithful to your needs?
(1) Bet She'an National Park
(3) Mount of Beatitudes
(4) Sea of Galilee
We now welcome you to...
Bet She'an National Park is the site of over 400 archaeologically-excavated acres from the Byzantine period. The ruins include the ancient city of Bet She'an-Scythopolis and the imposing Tel Bet She'an. Excavations were first carried out in Bet She'an in the 1920s; yet archaeologists have only uncovered about one tenth of the city's area.
If you are planning on going to Bet She'an solo (not in a tour group), we must warn you that the actual ruins are difficult to find even after you walk through the park's entrance. You can either take the free route and walk down hidden paths, through bushes and trees - OR you can ride the tram for a small fee. We recommend the latter, seeing as we wasted quite a bit of time trying to find the place on our own.
This 7,000 seat Roman Theater was built in the 21st century. The Bet She'an theater is known as the best-preserved ancient theater in Israel. All plays occurred in daylight, when the metropolis was the busiest. Though the walls were built in order to block out distractions from the busy city outside of the theater, can you imagine how loud the actors had to speak in this massive theater?
The lovely columns of Bet She'an.
The Western Bathhouses
- The bathhouse toilets - the bathhouse provided public toilets. The toilets pictured here are the remains. Toilet "paper" was a soft leaf attached to a twig. A channel of running water under the seats afforded drainage.
- Outlook into Western Bathhouses
- Entrance to Bathhouses - some of the facilities, such as this, faced an open courtyard paved with mosaic floors.
- We're pretty sure this was the king's latrine quarters. Don't hold us to that.
- Model of the Bathhouse - the bathhouse included a swimming pool, massage rooms, public toilets, and other conveniences.
- The outlook over Bet She'an. We had to climb many steps to get to this point. Well worth it! This, of course, was at the end of the hike.
- Sigma - a semicircular concourse of the Byzantine period, referred to as the Sigma in an inscription found at the site, surrounded by rooms opening onto it.
- Colored mosaics were displayed on the floors of the rooms. This one depicts Tyche, guardian goddess of the city, wearing a crown of city walls and holding a cornucopia.