Saturday, March 24, 2012
Looking Back at Israel - Caesarea Maritime & Jezreel
Caesarea Maritime is on the coast of the Mediterranean. It is a city and harbor built by Herod. While there, we saw ruins of a theater, the hippodrome, Herod's palace, a temple to Zeus, an aquaduct and other antiquities. The question is....what does any of it matter to us?
Besides being historical and amazing to think they built all this without machines, this area is mentioned in Scripture twice. Acts 12:20-23 describes the death of Herod after the people called him a god. Because Herod did not give God the glory, he was eaten by worms and died. This event is placed either in the theatre or in the hippodrome; because of what the historian Josephus writes, it most likely is in the theatre.
But in Acts 10, we learn the story of Cornelius who was in Caesarea. Peter travels there after a vision and he witnesses the Holy Spirit fall onto Gentiles. This is the first time Peter sees this happen without a Gentile having to conform to the Jewish traditions. We took some time to just think over the importance of this passage and the greatness of God in bringing the gospel to the Gentiles.
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We experienced the Jezreel Valley from every side: from the northwest at Mt. Carmel, from the west from Megiddo, from the south at Mr. Gilboa, and from the east at Nazareth. The Jezreel Valley is the only way anyone could travel between Egypt and Mesopotamia. Controlling this valley often meant controll of the trade routes and the regions surrounding it. At each of those spots where we viewed the beautiful Jezreel Valley, we also thought of the other historical events that occurred.
We saw all of these sites (and more) in one day. Hopefully that gives perspective on how small Israel is compared to most countries and also how much we accomplished in our days. I also hope that you see how diverse the landscape is. Sometimes I know we think that it is dry, dusty and dessert-ish. However, it is a very fertile area, green and rocky.