by Jon M. Davis
Many times when we talk about the feet of Jesus, we often refer to his crucifixion. We also use this term to refer to us, as Christ-followers, taking the message of Jesus throughout the world. But in the past two days, my feet have walked, literally, where Jesus walked. Can you get your mind around that statement? I stood in the places that Jesus stood!
From the Bible we find numerous stories about the Sea of Galilee. It was here that Jesus called some of his disciples to “come, follow me.” I stood on the shores of the Galilee and looked out into the waters that he calmed with his voice as the ship was going down. Just a few hundred yards away, I stood on the mountain where it is thought that Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount.
Speaking of mounts, I climbed to the top of Mt.Arbel. It is thought that Jesus got up early in the morning and went off to pray here. I can see why. From here you can look at the entire Sea of Galilee. You can see where the Jordan River flows in from the north. Across the sea, to the west, is present day Jordan. Capernaum, on the north side of the sea and the place where Jesus did a lot of teaching, could also be seen from here. And yes, I stood in the synagogue where Jesus preached. I saw the house where Peter’s mother-in-law lived. Jesus stayed there and I stood at the threshold of this place. Many other places were also visible from here, and we did get to see some of them. But, for the sake of time, I will skip some of the details.
Gamla can also be seen from Mt. Arbel. This is a fascinating place that sits at the “y” where two valleys meet. This is where the Zealots held out in a rebellion against the Romans. Most of them jumped to their death from the top of the mountain to avoid being captured, brutalized and enslaved or killed. There is a ceremonial cleansing place called a mikveh that is still in tact. It was located just outside of the synagogue and used as a place to cleanse and turn back toward God. This cleansing took place before anyone read or preached in the synagogue. At Gamla, Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 61: 1-2.
The account of Jesus was recorded in Luke 4:14-21. It reads, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:[in Isaiah 61]
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened to him, and he began by saying to them,’ Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’”
Here is the really cool part. Not just anyone could walk in off the street and start reading the Scriptures in the synagogue. In fact, the specific text and the family that was to read it were, and still are today, assigned way in advanced. Because no one had a Bible of their own, there was no way to know the content of what you were to read until you got there. It just so happened that on this day, the house of Joseph was scheduled to read from Isaiah 61 and had been for some time. Today you can go to a website and see what is scheduled to be read and by who at http://bible.ort.org/books/cald5.asp. Today, I stood in the place where Jesus declared his ministry and then put the world on notice that he his ministry was spoken of hundreds of years before. This was no accident!
I have walked where Jesus walked today. In the past 4 days we have hiked more than 15 miles, most of it uphill- both ways! It has been a wonderful experience to be where Jesus has been. It has been difficult I will not even attempt to say that it has not. But it has been so very rewarding. I now have a better understanding of what it must have been like to travel in this region. I can now visualize the Scripture in a setting that is real to me. I no longer have to imagine how far or what the roads were like. My feet have been there.
We have 4 more days until we return. Please keep us in your prayers. Especially pray for our feet. Pray that they will take us where the Lord would lead. Pray that our feet would remain injury free. Pray that when we return from Israel, we will again take the Gospel to where it has not been. Pray that we will Go Beyond!