Christian Two Day Trip
The land of Israel is holy to Christianity for many reasons. It is where Jesus was born, lived, died, and was resurrected. Israel is also the land of Christianity’s beginnings, where Peter, Paul, Luke, and many more, lived here and developed the religion. It spread around the world from Israel. Because of all these important connections and roots in Israel, we have to take more than just an hour, 3 hours, or 1 day to really begin to understand the important sites and history we will discover. We therefore will spend a Christian Two Day trip learning and discovering the Christian perspective of the Holy Land. Our first day will focus on the Galilee and Jesus’ primacy during his young adulthood. We will then move on to Jerusalem, a city filled with Christian roots.
We will begin our Christian Two Day trip in the city of Nazareth, a very influential city in the religion of Christianity. It is in Nazareth that Mary’s annunciation by the angel Gabriel takes place. What specifically happens? Mary went to the spring to get sme water. All of sudden she hears a voice telling her she is with child while staying a virgin. She is now pregnant with Jesus, a child the voice tells her is the son of god, the messiah. Who is this voice? The angel, Gabriel. And so begins a life and story that will shape one of the largest monotheistic religions in the world.
While we are in the city, we will explore
- Both the Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches that commemorate the annunciation,
- the Synagogue Church, where the community of Nazareth rejects Jesus,
- the White Mosque, an important part of the Muslim community in Nazareth,
- the outdoor market,
- and visit other important spots in the city.
Church of Fish and Loaves
The Church of Fish and Loaves in Tabgha (on the shore of the Sea of Galilee) commemorates Jesus’ miracle of feeding 5,000 of his followers. Jesus had preached that day, but when Jesus, his disciples, and his followers had only five loaves of bread and 2 fish. While the apostles didn’t know how they were going to provide enough food for all Jesus’ followers. But Jesus miraculously turned the little food into enough for the 5,000. Through this event, we will explore the impact of Jesus on his congregation.
We will look at the different aspects of the church for inspiration and reflection, such as:
- the mosaics
- the Byzantine remains
- the modern church itself.
This story can be found in Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:31-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:5-15. It is the only miracle besides from Jesus’ resurrection that is in all four gospels. It is important to not to confuse this with the feeding of the 4,000. These are two separate miracles.
Church of the Primacy of Peter
We will then continue a very short distance to the Church of the Primacy of Peter, remembering the appearance of Jesus’ to Peter after his resurrection. It was built in 1933 on the remains of the 4th century church. It is here that Jesus forgives Peter for refusing to acknowledge him in Jerusalem. Jesus also reinstates Peter as the head of the apostles. We will take a moment to think about the importance of forgiving, the story itself, we will look at the monument built in honor of the two Popes who visited the site: Paul VI and John Paul II, the mensa christi (the limestone table Jesus fed his apostles).
We will stop on the way for a lunch on the important city of Migdal, hometown of Mary Magdelene.
Mount of Beatitudes
Mount of Beatitudes is the site where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. It is the longest teaching Jesus is accounted for in the New Testament. It includes the eight beatitudes, or blessings. These beatitudes are based on love and humility based values. Jesus also addresses ‘salt and light,’ ‘light of the world,’ ‘lamp under a bushel,’ ‘the mote and the beam,’ and ‘Wise and Foolish Builders.’ When looking at the Church, we will also learn:
- what Jesus’ message really was
- what does turning the other check mean?
- How do these teachings affect the religion of Christianity?
- How does the physical church reflect Jesus’ teachings?
The story can be found in Matthew 5-7.
Capernaum is also known as the town as Jesus, or the main location of Jesus’ primacy. The remains found here are great evidence of early Christianity. These remains were found Franciscan monks. There aren’t just the remains of the synagogue and typical, residential clusters, but the house of Peter and his mother! And from that very building we can see the roots of the early church (or house worship). We can see several stages in the development of the church, from that first room all the way to the modern church that hovers over it today. This will give us a true snapshot of what life was like then.
We will explore the whole site, from the synagogue, to the remains found, to Peter’s home.
Boat Ride to Kibbutz Ein Gev
We will end the first day of our Christian Two Day Trip with a boat ride from Capernaum to Kibbutz Ein Gev, an activity Jesus did oftern. It is at Ein Gev where we will have a fresh dinner, and sleep for the night. Check out the Ein Gev hotel!
Outlook of Mount of Olives
We will begin the second day of our Christian Two Day Trip at the Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. What we will see is very similar to what Jesus saw when coming into Jerusalem for his final week. The New Testament often mentions the Mount of Olives. While we are there we will discuss:
- why Jesus chose to sleep here during his final week.
- how else is holy to Christianity
- why it is holy to Judaism and Islam
- what we see around us
- what Jesus begins to feel when he came to the Mount of Olives knowing what was going to happen
Dominus Flevit Church
Moving forward to the Dominus Flevit Church, we will see not only the place Jesus prophesied Jerusalem’s destruction, but also the remains of Second Temple Period burials, offering us a glimpse into the final stages of life during the time of Jesus. After Jesus arrives to the Mount of Olives, he begins his way into Jerusalem for Palm Sunday. But on the way he sees the Second Temple and the Temple Mound, and he begins to cry. He begins to cry because he prophesied his beloved Temple and Jerusalem would be destroyed. Indeed 66 years later, the Romans destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem. We will take a little bit of time to meditate and put ourselves in the perspective Jesus was in during his final week.
Church of All Nations (Gethsemane)
The Church of All Nations commemorates the site where Jesus agonized and prayed to god the father. He knew that he was going to die in a matter of days. This is terrifying for Jesus as a human. He needs some comfort from god, the father. And what do his disciples at this moment of fear for Jesus? They fall asleep. This is a very difficult moment for Jesus. At the Church of All Nations and Garden of Gethsemane, we will take a moment to remember Jesus’ human side. It is here that Jesus prays to the Holy Father to overcome the fear he felt concerning his upcoming death.
We will then continue our Christian Two Day Trip with the Via Dolorosa, or the Way of the Cross. The Via Dolorosa is made up of stations that remember the final moments of Jesus’ life. We will take the time to not only remember what happens, but reflect what that means in his time and ours.
Check out more about the Via Dolorosa here.
After finishing the Via Dolorosa, we will stop for lunch in the Old City.
Church of the Holy Sepulcher
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the site of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. It is home to the last five stations of the Via Dolorosa. It is the HOLIEST site in Christianity.
Now a little story about the physical building of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The Church’s control is divided up between six different denominations of Christianity: Catholicism, Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Syraic, Coptic, and Ethiopians. This began after the Crimean War when those in the war agreed on the Status Quo Agreement as part of end of the war agreements. Along with the divisions of power, the Status Quo Agreement stated that the Church cannot undergo any changes whatsoever. So what does that mean? Well, up until that the Ottomans locked up the Church at night. The Armenian monks had to put a ladder on the ledge in order to pull up food people would send up in a bucket. So when the government began theStatus Quo Agreement, the monks could leave at night, but the ladder had to stay. Stay it has, and we can still see it today!
We will take time to understand what happens here, and take some time for prayer or other religious needs.
We will end our Christian Two Day Trip at the Western Wall, the only standing remnants of the Second Temple. The Second Temple was a holy site for Jesus, and one he visited often. As much as he saw it as a holy site, and he loved Jerusalem very much, the Temple and its leaders were some of the problems he saw with the Judaism of his time. What we see today, is only a tenth of what the full length the western wall. We will put the site into some context, and have some free time before concluding our Christian Two Day Trip and heading to the hotel for check- in and dinner.
To check out some of my Christian trips in Israel, see my Facebook page.