Jesus called his first disciples from fishing for fish to fishing for people. They abruptly left their livelihood behind to follow him in this radical kingdom adventure. The decision whether or not to follow Jesus remains the most crucial one in all of life. Jesus still fishes for people through his followers today.
Legacy is a word that is overused today, but it is fitting to think of Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Chorazin with this word in mind. Our legacy depends on how we respond to the opportunities God graciously gives us. These three villages had many opportunities to respond to Jesus and his teaching, but they did not. May God grant that learning about their history will lead us to avoid their legacy.
All too often the church appears to the world as a militant Masada or a withdrawn Qumran, but it ought to be a welcoming oasis like En Gedi, a place where people who are thirsty can drink at the springs of living water.
Have you noticed that the internet is abuzz with reports that the Dead Sea is coming alive in fulfillment of biblical prophecy? We speak to this question below. And no tour of the land of the Bible is complete, apparently, unless it includes an opportunity to float in the Dead Sea. Hopefully these fads don’t distract us from the real significance of the Dead Sea.
The “land of the Bible” obviously encompasses more than the modern state of Israel. It reaches east to Babylon (modern Iraq), south to Egypt, west to Rome, and north to Syria and Turkey. At the heart of these Bible lands are today’s Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. Our recent study tour began in Jordan. As I reflected on this remarkable country, I was surprised about how much I had forgotten (and how much I hadn’t learned!) about Jordan and its role in the biblical narrative.
I’m excited that Beverly and I have the opportunity to go to Israel together again this year. We are participating in the GRTS 2019 Ancient World of the Bible Study Tour of Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. Prof’s Jonathan and Jennifer Greer lead this annual tour. You can find daily posts by GRTS students here and at #grtsIsrael.