Mount of Beatitudes and Caprnaum
Rev. Sudha Mehta©
Matthew 4: 12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; 13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelled in Capernaum, which is on the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.(AKJV)
This day we listened to Perry Stone as he opened up the Scriptures here at the Mount of Beatitudes Church site.
I do not attend Perry Stone’s Church for I live hundreds of miles from where his Ministry is located. I have followed him on TV for years, have many of his books and teachings and believe him to be a true scholar.
I had no idea what he would be like in person and am happy to note that I found him to be very pleasant, very engaged and engaging. He laughs easily, and puts on no airs. There was not even a hint of haughtiness and that pleasantness is very inviting to people like me who are always hungry to learn more. In short, I came away impressed with his humble and easy-going demeanor. For all his learning he shows no arrogance, doesn’t distance himself from people, converses easily with anyone and that is very commendable. Such a man is worth learning from and following. I would encourage all of you to check his work and to learn from him.
The apostle Paul said:
1 Corinthians 11: 1 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.(NASB)
Leaders like Perry Stone, not only follow in the steps of Paul, as Paul followed in the steps of Jesus . . . they also encourage us to follow as they follow . . .
I like leaders like Perry who lead by example!
Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount here:
Matthew 5: 1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.(NASB)
A Church sits on the Mount where Jesus gave the sermon. It is also known as The Church of the Beatitudes.
The Roman Catholic Franciscan Church built by an Italian Architect Antonio Barluzzi in 1937-38. This same architect built 8 churches in what is now Israel making a network connecting the different focal points of Jesus Ministry. The grounds are lovely and well manicured. The Church is a recent addition, yet before Israel became a Nation.
There had been an older Byzantine church built in the 3rd Century further down the slope of this hill. That church was used until the 7th century.
On the grounds of the current church we found a whole grove of these aged trees that made my friend and I wish we had more time to enjoy our surroundings. We would have liked to be there in the quiet of the morning with nothing but the birds chirping, to listen, to meditate on the Word of God.
There were even a good number of fruit trees growing on the compound.
It was easy to imagine Jesus speaking to the crowd on the hillside. The hillside acts like an amphitheater so crowds can sit and hear without any difficulty.
Sermon on the mount photo from LDS
I have no trouble visualizing Jesus teaching the Sermon on the Mount to the crowd from such a location.
My husband Peter and I live of a gentle sloping hill above a vast valley. It amazes us how we can hear conversations happening down in the valley below. People talking, even a horse clip-clopping down the road can be heard. Cars from a distance away in the valley can be heard driving up. The sound of children sledding in the snow even in the hush of winter carry up to us. So, I imagine this is much the way sound would have carried up to reach the crowds assembled.
Next we visited the ancient ruins of the town of Capernaum.
As soon as Jesus was finished being tested in the wilderness, John the baptist was arrested by Herod. Jesus heard about this and left there returning to the region of Galilee to His hometown Nazareth where He grew up. In Nazareth He read from the scroll in the synagogue and was rejected (Luke 4:16). It was then that He moved His home base to Capernaum. The towns of Capernaum, Bethsaida and Chorazim are in close proximity, though all these towns, including Nazereth and Cana are in the region of Galilee. It was the town of Cana where He made water into wine (John 2:1).
Capernaum is where He picked the disciples, this is where He did a number of miracles, this is where by the sea He spoke to the multitudes on the hillside and more. This is where Jesus asked Peter to get the coin from the mouth of the fish to pay taxes.
Matthew 17: 24 When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?” 25 He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?” 26 When Peter said, “From strangers,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are exempt. 27 “However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.”(NASB)
This is why this fish we ate at the Kibbutz was called St. Peter’s Fish:
Capernaum was the birthplace of Peter, Andrew, James and John. This is where they had a thriving fishing business. They were well to do.(Mark 1:20) Peter’s home is proof positive for compared to most of the town it is a large home with many rooms. This town was also where Matthew the tax-collector (Matthew 9:9) lived.
Capernaum had the advantage of having a thriving fishing industry and also of being on a main thoroughfare which connected Africa, Europe and Asia. The Via Maris was a trade route used by International traders.
Imagine this being central to where Jesus began His work that would bring light to those sitting in the darkness (Matthew 4:16) . . . I was blessed to be there!
Capernaum Photo from Sudha Mehta
The photo below is of what remains of Peter’s house. It clearly was not a tiny hut! This is the house where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:30). This is also the house where He ministered to so many, even healing the paralytic lowered from the roof (Luke 5:18).
Many scholars believe this to be the home where Jesus lived with Peter and his family, while others believe Jesus had His own home in the neighborhood.
It was a privilege to see the deep blue waters of the Sea of Galilee, (also known as Tiberias and Gennesaret) and imagine what life would have been like when Jesus walked the shores.
Luke 5: 1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed on him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.(AKJV)
When Jesus asked to use Peter’s boat so He could address the crowds from the boat, He was making use of the natural amphitheater on the hillside. The surface of the water conducts sound well, but sitting in the boat facing a hillside where the crowds gathered, He again used the natural amphitheater (created by Him).
Below is a photo of some of the structures in the town. you can see what the houses would have looked like. Some early utensils and appliances can also be made out.
This is a millstone below. Remember:
Matthew 18: 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.(NASB)
He made clear that children were precious to Him!
It is entirely true to say that I had to go to Israel to discover how little I know. I thought I knew a lot, and while it is true that compared to many I do, it also is true that compared to many more I know very little. I have been teaching the Bible for so many years, yet seeing the land, standing on the ground where He stood, walking in the steps He walked, my eyes were opened to so much more. I would love to be immersed in everything history in order to be a better teacher.
Perhaps the Lord will allow it!
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