EXPLORING THE WORD
Jesus and the Sea of Galilee
As our boat floats along on the Sea of Galilee, I realize that much of Jesus' ministry took place within the distance my eyes can see. This "sea" isn't large — only 7 miles wide by 13 miles long. The sea lies in the lower portion of the Jordan Valley in a mountainous region. The mountains rise 4000 feet above sea level around the water. Its geography makes it susceptible to raging storms that come on very suddenly. The cold air rushes down from the mountains and collides with the warm, moist air coming from the water. Today, however, the waters are still and peaceful. There are no storms brewing as our boat floats through the calm waters.
I look north and see Capernaum, a city where many biblical events took place. In fact, Jesus called Capernaum His home during His ministry years. Matthew 4:13 says, "And leaving Nazareth he [Jesus] went and lived in Capernaum by the sea..." It was here that Jesus healed the centurion's servant (Luke 7:3) and taught us about the bread of life (John 6:35-39). There only remains a few ruins of the synagogue and some homes from Jesus' time. There are also ruins that are believed to be Peter's house. Even though Capernaum was home to Jesus and many of the disciples, the people of this city did not believe. Due to this lack of faith, Jesus cursed Capernaum. Today, the ruins of Capernaum sit desolate and dead, a stark reminder of Jesus' curse over 2000 years ago.
The waters of the Galilee were witness to many of Jesus' miracles. In fact, it was here where the storm raged out of control while Jesus was fast asleep in the boat. His disciples cried out to Him and Jesus listened. He displayed His authority over nature and spoke to calm its aggression. The weather responded with peace (Mark 4:35-41).
It was to the northeast where Jesus fed the 5000 people with only 5 loaves and 2 fish (Matthew 14:13-21). To the south in the Gerasenes, the pigs ran down the hill and drowned in these waters Mark 5:1-20). I can visualize those two events happening on the surrounding hills.
As the ship continues across the sea, I recall the most famous story of this location. Jesus retreated to a nearby mountain to pray. When he rejoined His disciples, it wasn't in the traditional way! Jesus walked across these waters. Another storm was raging and His disciples were in turmoil. They didn't recognize Him and thought this water-walker was a ghost. They weren't expecting Him. Their fear blinded their hearts and they didn't see Jesus (Matthew 14:22-33).
I wonder why Jesus walked across the waters of the Sea of Galilee. Perhaps He wanted to show His disciples He would be there in their deepest fears. We don't know His motives. We do know this miracle wasn't a random trick to impress them. He was demonstrating who He is — He is the Son of God, the Creator of this very sea. In response, it was here on the Sea of Galilee that His disciples finally realized who Jesus is. Matthew 14: 32-33 says, "Truly you are the Son of God." This is the first time that His disciples realized this truth and they responded in worship.
The disciples had a long way to go in their spiritual understanding, but they were growing. As I float in a fishing boat along the Sea of Galilee, I realized that I wholeheartedly desire the same thing. Although I have a long way to go in my spiritual understanding, I want to grow in my faith and respond in worship.
Before our boat docks, I remember another event. After the resurrection, Jesus went to the Sea of Galilee and found Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, John, and two other disciples fishing. He asked them if they had caught any fish and encouraged them to throw the net to the other side. The net became so full they couldn't drag it into the boat. Realizing it was Jesus who was talking to them, Peter jumped into the water and swam 100 yards to reach the shore.
There on the seaside, Jesus was cooking them breakfast. They brought Him fish and I bet that was the best breakfast of their lives (John 21:1-14). What a joy to spend the morning with their risen Savior!
John 21:12 says, "...But none of the disciples dared ask who he was. They knew he was the Lord." What a contrast to the earlier account of Jesus walking on the water! This time, they knew exactly who Jesus was!
He was their Messiah and their Savior. Over 2000 years later, I know He is mine as well.
Image Credit: Seetheholyland.net; "Capernaum"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | History-Apologetics | Jesus-Christ | Personal-Life
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