On Fire for All Things Christ

Posts tagged ‘Israel’

Memorable Experiences in Israel: Baptism in the Jordan

Matthew 3:13-17
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

One of my favorite experiences in Israel was being baptized in the Jordan River as Jesus was baptized in the Jordan. This was not my first time being baptized, but what made this experience extra special was the opportunity to be baptized by someone I knew and admired, my amazing Bible Professor, Guy Jackson. Special thanks to Daniel White for capturing the great photos! May 16, 2011.

The Last Supper Model

I remember when the professor of my Bible class diagrammed for us a visual representation of the Last Supper. It was very different from the familiar “Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci that most of us have seen.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper painting

In my recent trip to Israel, our group stopped by an olive tree wood shop in Bethlehem to check out souvenirs. The shop had hundreds of carved items including crosses, saints, angels, nativity scenes and so on. But, among all the items was one that caught my eye! When my professor and I both saw it we were like two little kids who had just found the best toy in the store.

Olive tree wood model of the Last Supper

In this representation of the Last Supper, Jesus and His disciples sit at an “n” shaped table. The first seat on the lower left is the disciple, John. John is reclining back, looking at Jesus who is seated next to him in the second spot on the left, also know as the place/seat of honor. On the other side of Jesus is Judas. Peter would probably be the last disciple across the table on the right.

In that time period, tables for eating were not high off the ground like they are today, they were low to the ground. People didn’t use chairs but rather they reclined to eat. Leaning on their left arm for support, their legs were to the back  and they used the right hand to eat. To talk to the person next to you, one would lean back onto the others chest. For example, John would lean back onto Jesus’ chest to speak to him. Jesus would lean back onto Judas to speak with him. Interesting to think about the intimacy in the set up and then remember that Judas would stab Jesus in the back with betrayal just a short while after this supper.

My Israel Experience: Seeing at the Sea of Galilee

Below is an email I wrote when I was on my trip to Israel in May. It had been about five days since I contacted anyone back home and I wanted to join my traveling friends in swimming at the Sea of Galilee on our first free afternoon, but the Lord had other plans for me. I hope you enjoy this little message as you imagine what some of my Israel trip experience was like.

Greetings Everyone from Israel!!!!! 😀 I only have one hour here on the Internet, and this computer doesn’t have the fastest connection, so I will make this sweet. 🙂

First, we all made it to Israel safely! I got a little air sick at the end of the first flight, so that wasn’t very fun, and we practically had to run across the London airport to make our second flight, but, we made it!!

For now, I will skip over the activities that we have done for the past few days and focus mainly on the last 24 hours. 🙂 However, I will note that we have already done a lot of traveling across northern Israel! Israel is actually much bigger than I thought!! And absolutely beautiful!!

Yesterday, on our bus ride through northern Israel (a.k.a. the finger of Galilee), I decided to share with the group a passage of scripture, Joshua 9:9. This was something the Lord had revealed to me just a few days before our trip, and it was very fitting in light of coming to Israel. (See related posting about this here.) Everyone loved it! Then, later that evening, we arrived at our Kibbutz on the Eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is amazing!! After our first dinner here at the Kibbutz, we saw a beautiful sunset beyond the mountains by the sea. Our Kibbutz here is super cute!!! We have the most amazing view of the Galilee area and last night I enjoyed the cool sea water with friends.

Cottages at our Kibbutz at the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee.

Wow, to think we are walking on the very land that the Lord our Savior walked. The Son of God was here!!! This is the water He walked on! This is so awesome. I have hardly been able to sleep, as my mind won’t leave me alone, but regardless, I am full of energy!!

Today, we visited Capernaum just to the north, overlooking the Galilee. This was known as the town of Jesus. Jesus did much of His ministering here. Professor Shockley gave the most amazing devotional covering the three things that Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 16:24 – 1) Deny yourself, 2) Pick up your cross and 3) follow Me.

Entrance into Capernaum. We were blessed to get here early and soak in the area.

Synagogue at Capernaum. The lower stones are of darker color and are from the first century (Jesus time). Around 4AD, another Synagogue, represented by the lighter stones, was built on top of the ruins of the first one.

After that, we went to see an ancient boat that was recovered from the bottom of the Sea that is said to be from first century (Jesus time!). Awesome. Then, our group went on a boat ride through the Sea. We sang worship songs and danced to Jewish music. Professor Jackson gave an amazing devotional to us at this time. He spoke from Mark 4:35-41 about when Jesus was asleep at the stern of the boat and the disciples were freaking out because of the winds and the waves. The disciples wake Jesus up and then Jesus commands the winds and the waves to be still. At that point, the disciples became even more fearful!!! Think, the disciples were already fearful because of the storm, but now they were even more fearful because they just witnessed Jesus calm the storm! He performed the miracle and the disciples said… “who is this man that even the wind and the waves obey Him???!!!!” Even though the disciples had seen Jesus do many miracles already, they still did not realize Him to be God.

This is the remains of the ancient boat preserved at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee dating from the first century. Jesus was most likely on a similar type of boat.

Israel and U.S. flags fly together on our boat on the Sea of Galilee.

After this, we stopped for lunch. We ate whole fish – head, tail and all! Fresh tilapia from Galilee. We also had fresh dates and soothing mint tea.

I picked up this fish from the sample plate thinking that it was a fake, but it was real!

Then, off we went to visit the Mount of Beatitudes. Jesus spoke to thousands here. But, how does a man speak to thousands without a microphone or being in a theater? Good question. The way that land around the Sea of Galilee region is structured, created a natural “theater” shape where many could hear him. Wow, God wants His Son to be heard and He creates the natural setting for it! Here we had another devotional.

Then, we went to the ancient ruins of Chorazim, a city that Jesus condemned because of the people’s hard hearts and unbelief. Luke 10, Matthew 11) Here our group member Kurt, gave an awesome devotional about reaching out to those that God has already prepared to receive the Gospel.

Synagogue at Korazim. The ancient ruins still show that in looking out from the entrance, the land forms a valley. In the far distance would be Jerusalem.

Lastly, as we headed back to our Kibbutz, we stopped at the Gerasenes. This is where the demoniac was, Mark 5. The demons inside the man recognized Jesus saying, “Have You come to torture us before the appointed time?” Jesus then cast the demons out into the herd of pigs that rushed down the steep valley and died. To this day, you can still see the hoves from the dead pigs!! LOL, I’m just kidding!! Jesus only had to say one word, “Go” and the demons had to obey. Funny how even the demons recognize the Son of God, but the people (even the disciples from Mark 4) did not.

Country of the Garasenes where Jesus cast demons into a herd of pigs. The first “deviled ham.” LOL!

So now, after this email, I am going to join my travel buddies along the Galilee. They say the sea is warm, but those who say that, haven’t been to the Gulf of Mexico!! Haha. It is 5:15pm on Sunday here.

Tomorrow, I will be baptized in the Jordan by Professor Jackson. I am so excited!!
Love and blessings to you all from the land of Israel!!

Video Views of my Israel Experience

These are a few of my favorite videos that I recorded on my recent tour of Israel on May 2011.

This first video is a view of the Eastern side of the old Jerusalem city walls as our tour guide, Ronnie Cohen, briefs us on the history of Jerusalem.

As we were walking through the Via Dolorosa, behind us, a Spanish group was doing a processional toward Station VIII. This captivated my attention. I felt very emotional as I watched in remembrance of Jesus on his route to Calvary.

May 20, 2011 — As I walk out of Jaffa Gate and into an outdoor mall courtyard area, musicians and Israeli soldiers meet and enjoy a time of music with singing and dancing. During my trip to Israel, I had an inquiring interest of the Israeli soldiers. This was a very candid video as I was caught in the middle of this celebration right before the Sabbath. The soldiers are so young, and they carry their weapons like I would carry my purse.


Here, we stand at the Temple Mount at the Dome of the Spirits. A small, covered area about 5′ in diameter, that is located off to the side away from the Dome of the Rock. The floor there is the bare ground of Mount Moriah. Listen to the description on the video. Pretty amazing!!

The Slightest Glimpse of Him

On the bus, while traveling through Israel, a lady on our trip mentioned that a certain song had come into her mind, “What Do I Know of Holy” by Addison Road. She said that being in Israel had made her feel as if she had indeed made God too small. As I heard that song just earlier today, it triggered my memory of that and how appropriate the song seemed while traveling through Israel – the land the Lord reserved from His people. The land that the Son of God was born into and walked through. The place where the people welcomed Him and crucified Him. Jerusalem, the city that Jesus humbly came to the first time and will again return to with reigning power.

Lord, I have been flippant and have made you too small in my life. Lord, what do I know of Your holiness? If You touched my face, would I know You? If you looked into my eyes, could I behold You?

Here are the lyrics to the song, “What Do I Know of Holy” by Addison Road

I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small
I never feared You at all No
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame?
And a God who gave life “its” name?
What do I know of Holy?
Of the One who the angels praise?
All creation knows Your name
On earth and heaven above
What do I know of this love?

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of Holy?

Shoma a Rhema Word

Yesterday morning as I was starting my day, half asleep and praying, the Lord revealed a Rhema word to me. Being that I am horrible at dictation, the Lord revealed the word to me by plainly spelling it out … s-h-o-m-a. In semi conscious state, I reached for my pencil and notepad and wrote it down – Shoma. Okay I thought, I don’t know what this word means, but I believe it to be Hebrew. I’ll have to look it up. The next day, I plugged it into my online concordance, and there it was:

Strong’s Number: 8089
Trasliterated Word: Shoma
Definition: 1. report, rumour, news, fame
Verse count: 4

I was getting excited as I went on to discover more. I looked up the verses and read this:

Joshua 9:9 (NAS) … Your servants have come from a very far country because of the fame of the LORD your God; for we have heard the report of Him and all that He did …

Wow, this meant so much to me!! In just two days, I was going to be traveling half way across the world to Israel to see and experience the places where My Lord Jesus walked, taught, did many miracles and saved the world from sin. I was going to Israel because of the news of the Lord and all the wonders He did there. This passage spoke straight to me. What joy to know that this trip was ordained by God for me. The reference of Shoma in Joshua 9:9 seemed so fitting!! I personalized it to read like this …

I, your servant have come from a very far country because of the fame of You, my LORD, my God; for I have heard the report of You and all that You have done

I was amazed, in awe and wide eyed. What a blessing to receive this word and scripture from God, and what a gift from Him that I get to experience Israel, Jerusalem – His beloved city!! A gift indeed!! Number:  8s089

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