Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
We spent the first night in Israel south of Beersheva and then went north to Galilee for four nights. I love Galilee, both the sea and the area. It's beautiful, it's peaceful, and it's full of amazing spots when Jesus ministered - the place where He preached on the beatitudes, the town of Capernaum where He lived and preached at the synagogue there, Caesarea Philippi where Peter proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, the place traditionally held where Jesus spent time with Peter after His resurrection . . . the list goes on and on. It's easy to be on Galilee and just bask in the surrounding area in which Jesus ministered.
Then, we moved on to Jerusalem and spent the next three nights. Jerusalem is a totally different experience. It's busy and crowded and noisy. There's a tension here that's unlike anywhere I've ever been, and it's both political and religious. You can't move through the different quarters in Jerusalem, the Jewish Quarter, the Christian Quarter, and the Muslim Quarter, without quickly becoming aware of how tenuous peace is here. This week has been especially busy as the city is filled with pilgrims who have come to celebrate the Greek Orthodox Christmas on January 6. It's been chaotic. It's hard to be peaceful in Jerusalem.
That's probably a pretty good picture of what it was like for Jesus and His disciples as well. Their time in Galilee was one of building relationships with each other and learning from Jesus. They had time to walk and talk together, to sit around at night and unpack their days, and learn from Christ.
However, early on, the Bible says that Jesus turned His eyes toward Jerusalem. Once there, He faced the crowds of Passover, the anger of the Pharisees, the frustration with the money changers in the temple, the humiliation at the hands of the Sanhedrin and the soldiers, and finally the ultimate humiliation through His death on the cross . . . as a believer, you can't come to Jerusalem without emotionally experiencing the guilt and sorrow of your role in what Christ did for you.
Galilee and Jerusalem. You can't understand the significance of one without the other, just like you can't understand what Christ did for us without both.