Holy Land Pilgrimage with Gila

 

HOME
BIBLE REFERENCES
BOOK GILA
GILA’S GIFT SHOP
HEROINES
HOLY LAND HEADLINERS
HOLY SITES:
GILA’S HIGHLIGHTS
SONGS & PRAISE
TIPS FOR TOURS
ABOUT GILA
CONTACT
 
 
 


“HE LEFT NAZARETH AND MADE HIS HOME IN CAPERNAUM BY THE SEA
IN THE LAND OF ZEBULON AND NAPHTALI, SO THAT WHAT HAD BEEN
SPOKEN THROUGH THE PROPHET ISAIAH MIGHT BE FULFILLED"
MATTHEW 4:13-14
                                                                           

Holy Sites -- Gila's Highlights

Let's focus on Jesus' Ministry from Mount Arbel

 
There is no better place to get the “big picture” of Jesus’ public ministry in the Galilee than from the cliffs of Mount Arbel, overlooking the Sea of Galilee from the west.  First century historian Josephus Flavius tells us that there were 204 prosperous Galilean towns and villages in his day.  Most of the people earned their livelihood by either farming or fishing.

From the Arbel, we see it all!  With only a little imagination, we see the lush fields of wheat and barley; the luxuriant olive, almond and fig groves; and the fishermen docking with their catch after an all-night outing.
 

View of the area of Jesus' Galilean Ministry from Mount Arbel

Photo:  Gila Yudkin

From the Arbel cliff, a view of the western and northern shore of the Sea of Galilee

 
We can trace the road leading up northeast to Damascus, called the Via Maris or “the Way of the Sea.”  The Via Maris was the main thoroughfare of international trade for 1500 years.  We imagine Levi, renamed Matthew, sitting at his toll-booth along the road opposite Capernaum, the headquarters of Jesus public ministry.

Many Galileans in Jesus’ day were hot-headed radicals, preaching rebellion against their Roman overlords.  On Mount Arbel, when I look over to the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” I hear in my mind, “clank, clank, clank,” for the zealots at Arbel and across from us, at Gamle, were diligently making weapons.
 

From the Arbel cliff we see Mount Hermon covered in snow

Photo:  Gila Yudkin

In the horizon on the left, we can make out snow-covered Mount Hermon

 
Can you imagine – Jesus was teaching on a ten-mile stretch, between these two centers of zealotry.  What were the Galilean farmers and fishermen thinking when Jesus was teaching about the kingdom of God?  I wish I could have eavesdropped on the dialogue between Simon the Zealot (Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13) and Matthew the tax-collector.

As Jesus traveled between the towns and villages, teaching in all the synagogues (Matthew 4:23) and proclaiming the good news, he must have met many merchants and traders.  He may have heard a story about a younger son who gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, only to squander all his worldly goods (Luke 15).  Or he may have met a merchant searching for fine pearls, upon which he based the parable recorded in Matthew 13:45.
 

Mount Arbel as seen from the Sea of Galilee

Photo:  Gila Yudkin

Mount Arbel as seen from the Sea of Galilee

 
Because there’s so much to look at from Mount Arbel, possibilities of what you may want to share with your group are unlimited.  One of my favorite tour leaders traces the geography of Jesus’ Galilean ministry stretching out right below us.  Another reads the parables of the soil, the weeds, and the mustard seed from Matthew 13 and
Mark 4.

The Arbel is a great place to delve deeper into the Sermon on the Mount, as we discuss, “You are the light of the world; a city on a hill cannot be hid.” (Matthew 5:14)  On a clear winter’s day in the late afternoon, Psalm 89 comes to mind, for both Mount Hermon and Mount Tabor are distinctly visible.
 

Hiking up to the Arbel lookout point with the Horns of Hattin in the background

Photo:  Gila Yudkin

Climbing to the summit of the Arbel now takes only ten minutes

 
The way to the summit of Mount Arbel used to be a 45-minute trek, sometimes through ankle-deep mud along donkey and cow paths (and manure!).  The Israel Parks Authority has simplified access to the summit by constructing a parking lot so that the walk today is only ten minutes uphill.  There are now even restrooms and an entrance fee!
 

The Arbel lookout is a green dot on the horizon!

Photo:  Gila Yudkin

The Arbel lookout is by the green tree up at the right!

 

The bottom line is this: the Arbel view of Jesus’ Galilean ministry is now accessible to nearly everyone in your group.  Come with me, to the Land of Zebulon and the Land of Naphtali and let’s give the Biblical text color, contour and context.
 

SIGN UP for the FREE bimonthly e-letter:
"Holy Sites: Gila's Highlights"

 
Gila Yudkin, a Connecticut Yankee guiding in King David’s court, has been sharing biblical insights on site in the Holy Land for over 25 years.  She loves to share her passion for adventure in the Holy Land with like-minded pastors, teachers and students of the Bible.  Be sure to contact her in the beginning stages of planning your tour to check her availability.  

If you are contemplating leading a tour to the Holy Land or know someone who is, don’t miss Gila’s tips about do's and don'ts guaranteed to make your Holy Land pilgrimage a rave success.  Read Tips from A to Z for Holy Land Tour Leaders.
 

Copyright 2008, 2010 Gila Yudkin.  Permission needed for any reuse.

 

12 MOST POPULAR ARTICLES this month

 
"Let's focus on Jesus' Ministry from Mount Arbel" (as text without the photos) is one in the series of free bimonthly e-letters sent on request to tour leaders, pastors, clergy, teachers, Bible students, colleagues and friends.  If you'd like to receive "Holy Sites: Gila's Highlights" every other month, please contact Gila.  The last highlight was ""Let's hear the call to Samuel at Shiloh."  This month's highlight is "Let's claim our heritage at the Temple Mount."  The next highlight will be "Let's overlook the site of Jacob's wrestling match."
 
More on the Life of Jesus
 

Let's renew wedding vows in Cana of Galilee

Let's consider whether Jesus ever visited Sepphoris

Let's inspect the ancient scroll of Isaiah

Wedding at Cana   

Did Jesus visit Sepphoris?

Scroll of Isaiah

     

Let's gather by Bethsaida's city gate

Let's celebrate the epiphany by the River Jordan

Let's orient ourselves to Jesus' Jerusalem

Bethsaida    

Epiphany / River Jordan

Model of Jesus' Jerusalem


GILA YUDKIN TCHERNIKOVSKI 64A JERUSALEM ISRAEL
gila@itsgila.com

HOME GILA'S GIFT SHOP   TIPS FOR TOURS  ABOUT GILA


 

Copyright © 2005-2017 Gila Yudkin. All rights reserved.
Holy Land Photography by Gila Yudkin