Thursday, November 30, 2006

In the Boat with Jesus (Holy Land #3 of 14)

While in the Holy Land we visited Capernaum. This is the town where Jesus gave many of His teachings and performed many of His miracles. We saw the ruins and remains of Peter’s mother-in-law’s house. Here, Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law. Here He healed the paralytic man that was lowered through the roof. Here a father came to Jesus requesting that He heal his daughter. Before Jesus got to his home the young girl had died. Jesus went to her house and raised her from the dead. Here Jesus was touched on the hem of His garment by the woman with the blood disorder and she was healed as well. His list of miracles in this town is staggering.

We went into the remains of a 4th century synagogue. Though it was not the actual synagogue at the time of Jesus, it would have looked very similar and it was on the same exact site as the synagogue in Jesus’ day. It was in this synagogue that Jesus healed the demon possessed man. This demon, speaking through the man, called Jesus the Son of God. Not long after would have been the time of Peter’s confession of Christ at Caesarea Philipi. Right after that would have been the transfiguration of Jesus when God the Father proclaimed in an audible voice that this was His Son. Jesus was proclaimed as God by a demon, by a man and by God. Truly, He is the Son of God. It was also at the gate of this city that Jesus would have called a despised tax collector named Matthew (Levi at the time) to follow Him and be His disciple.

At that point we loaded a Jesus replica boat that would have been very similar to the boat that Jesus and His disciples would have used (minus the engines, of course). As we prepared to set sail on the Sea of Galilee we never could have imagined how the Spirit of God was about to move in all of our hearts. We stood on the front of the boat and watched the sun setting behind the mountains. As we did, they began to play the song, “Shout to the Lord” over the speakers. As we sang the words to that song, watching the sun set and realizing that we were on the very water where Jesus calmed the sea and walked upon the waves, a wave of emotion hit me…one of pure worship…unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. As we all stood and sang I just wept as I worshipped my Lord. I looked around me and every person stood singing with tears streaming down their faces. This was not manipulated nor was it orchestrated. This was the Holy Spirit. I don’t think that this could ever be replicated exactly as it happened.

I have never experienced such worship in all of my life. Dan Travis, our group leader, asked me if I would like to say a few words of devotion to the group. All I could say to him was, “I don’t think I can!” I was so filled with emotion and with awe of who my Lord was that I could not speak. I could not even continue singing. I could just stand and cry. It was here that I can honestly say that the Spirit of the Lord was bearing witness with my spirit that I am a child of God.

We then left the Sea of Galilee. I love that place. Jesus loved that place. I wonder if I will ever see it again. I hope with all of my heart that I do.

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