Ahh… here I am speaking of my favorite place on earth again, the Sea of Galilee. A drive along this beautiful sea coast is the same path Jesus would have traveled in His day. This ancient trade route connected Syria to Egypt and was known as the Via Maris (the way of the sea). As one traveled this road it led you along the path of the ancient Isarealite towns of Korazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, Magdala, and Tiberius.
Capernaum is a fishing town and sits directly on the Sea’s northwest corner. Travel a bit further south along the coastline and you will happen upon a natural spring that proves to be a prime spot for the cleaning of fishing nets and other necessary fishing equipment. This spot is thought to be the exact location in Luke 5 when Jesus sat in Peter’s boat and taught the crowd on the shores.
As Jesus looked at the crowds on the shore and gazed over their heads to the hillside directly behind them, He could see the location where He would teach the most profound message of all times…The Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5. In this teaching, Jesus introduced what it meant to be Kingdom minded, what Kingdom living was all about, and what the Kingdom of God really entailed! Jesus would talk about the blessings that came from being poor in spirit, having a heart that mourned, was gentle and merciful, and hungered and thirsted for righteousness. He would teach the people to love their enemies and to be the salt and light. He would teach about adultery, murder, marriage, making vows, prayer, and fasting, and various other life giving topics.
What an incredible opportunity to sit on this hillside known as Mount Beatitudes and to open my Bible to this exact message that Jesus, the Son of God…God Himself, spoke to the people of long ago! It’s the same message that speaks to hearts around the world today. It’s the message that opens our eyes to the heart of a Heavenly Father who loves us and desires deep, intimate relationships with His Creation, us!
Can you picture it? Jesus, Emmanuel, God in the form of a man, teaching on a hillside along shores of the Sea of Galilee ushering in His Kingdom. What a loving God we serve!