Monday, November 24, 2008

The Jesus Boat

One of the absolute highlights of both of my trips to the Holy Land is the boat ride that we take as a group on the Sea of Galilee. This trip, before getting on our boat, we went inside an exhibit to see what is called “The Jesus Boat.” This is the remains of a boat that was found submerged in 1986 during a bad drought along the Sea which dates back over 2,000 years to the time of Christ. It was fascinating to see how they found and salvaged this boat. It was incredible to look at this boat made of 12 different types of wood that would have sailed on the sea sometime around the time of Christ.

They had a wonderful gift shop here where we got a few stocking stuffer items and I bought a book on the religious symbols of Judaism as well as an Israeli flag and a mezuzah which Jews put on the doorpost of their doors with the Shema written on a paper and rolled up inside of it (“Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one God…). I plan to put it outside the door to my office at church. Jewish people touch it as they enter and leave their house and then put their hand to their mouth to remind them that the Word of God should be on their lips as they enter and as they leave their homes.

We then took our magnificent boat ride across the Sea back to Tiberius. This is such an awesome experience. This is the one place where we can be 100% sure that Jesus sailed and yes, even walked. To sail on this Sea is such a spiritual and emotional experience. We sailed with the sun setting behind the mountains and worship music being played. I loved watching people from our church as we sailed and sang. It is the epitome of genuine worship. In fact, these two boat rides on the Sea of Galilee (2006 and now) have been the two greatest times of worship in my life.

There were two things that made this boat ride even more special. One was being able to stand next to one of our Grace Brethren pastors from the Central African Republic as we sailed and sang on the Sea of Galilee. How awesome was that…A Grace Brethren Pastor from Pennsylvania and a Grace Brethren Pastor from the Central African Republic standing side by side on the Sea of Galilee.

But the other special part of this trip was being able to watch my parents (pictured). My dad stood just weeping. How special it was for them to be on this very special Sea. I’m sure that they never thought that this trip would have ever been possible. I am so thankful that the Lord delivered a way for us to provide this opportunity for them. As I watched them standing and embracing as they cried and sang, I realized what a special moment this in fact was for them and for me. For those who have never experienced this ride, it is impossible to really put it into words.

I just can’t say enough about the Sea of Galilee. Ask anyone from our church who went on this trip or the one back in 2006 and they will all agree that if they could revisit just one place in all the Land of the Bible it would definitely be the Sea of Galilee. And if the worship wasn’t great enough, we also did some Jewish dancing on the boat as well!

No comments: