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Mount of the Beatitudes

The Ministry of Jesus

The Ministry of Jesus


Today's activities were centered around the ministry of Jesus and the north western shore of the Sea of Galilee. We started the day by being picked up at our hotel's dock by our boat which would take us upon this beautiful lake. We headed northeast and were able to view the sites of Capernaum, the Cove of the Sower, the Mount of Beatitudes and Magdala.

We ended our boat ride at Nof Ginnosar and viewed a boat which dates back to the first century. It was found in 1986 while the lake level was lower than it is today. It has been beautifully preserved and they have a nice area in the museum to display it.

mount_of_beatitudesThe Mount of Beatitudes was our next stop. This hillside Catholic chapel commemorates the preaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. This site offers some tremendous views of the Sea of Galilee as it sits above Capernaum.

From there we had quick visits to Chorazim, Bethsaida and Capernaum. I was impressed by all of the improvements that they have made to Capernaum. They have made it more accessible to large groups and many of the artifacts are more easily seen.

magdalaAfter lunch, we went to see the new facility at Magdala. Five years ago, this site was just getting started. Now, they have a large amount of excavations available to the visitors. The prize piece of what has been found is the remains of a first century synagogue. It is possible that Jesus went into this synagogue while He walked on the earth.

Many of the tour group had asked about the possibility of retrieving some rocks from the sea. This is easily done at the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter. This church commemorates the events of John 21. Everyone enjoyed the ability to walk out into the sea.

Our final stop was at the top of Mount Arbel. We had attempted to visit this site on Thursday, but it was closed by the time we arrived. In hindsight, this was a blessing. Today's weather was much clearer and we were able to look down on the Sea of Galilee and discuss many of the places that we had visited today.

Tomorrow morning, we leave the area of the Sea of Galilee and head toward Jerusalem. We will see many sites along the way in which we will discuss tomorrow night.

Until then....shalom.

Mount of Beatitudes

Mount of Beatitudes


In my last post, I mentioned a small inlet of water in the Sea of Galilee, commonly called the Cove of the Sower. Just north of this location, and just uphill, is a Roman Catholic Franciscan chapel which was built in 1938. This chapel sits on the traditional location where Jesus taught the people in what we commonly call "The Sermon on the Mount".

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." - Matthew 5:1-12

Capernaum, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, as seen from the Mount of the Beatitudes.While the actual site of the Sermon on the Mount is unknown, this site has been commemorated since the 5th Century. Whether or not it is the actual location is something that will never be known, but given the context of the Scriptures and knowledge of the geographical area, one can easily conclude that it is in the general area. In fact, if you read the beginning of Matthew 8, you will see that after completing the sermon, Jesus came down from the mountain and entered Capernaum (Matthew 8:1, 5). From the chapel, you can look down the hill and see the remains of Capernaum.

The Sea of Galilee is a beautiful place. We will look at a few more locations around the lake in future posts.