I hope you had a great weekend. Our Israel 2015 presentation went well at Riverview AOG yesterday morning. Today our cyber tour continues; we are going to stop in Caesarea Phillipi!
The city of Caesarea Philippi is the remains of the Greek shrine to one of their gods, Pan. This was on the southwestern slope of Mount Hermon and the northernmost extent of Jesus’ ministry. Here, about twenty-five miles northeast of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus could be alone with his disciples—outside the domain of Herod Antipas, the ruler or Galilee, and within the area of Philip the Tetrarch. The population was not Jewish, so Jesus could teach the twelve in peace.
After the beheading of John the Baptist (Matthew 14), Jesus fed the 5,000, and Peter walked on water. Jesus brought his disciples to Caesarea-Phillipi (Matthew 15/Mark 8), the place of the most grotesque pagan worship, to give them the reminder of the truth He had given them. In this place, in addition to the shrine to Pan, thousands of other false gods were worshipped; the numerous carvings in the rocks evidenced this. Our team was united by teacher Mary Poehner, who reminded us how Jesus brought the disciples here to remind them He had given them the truth.
“Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked his disciples, saying to them, ‘Who do men say that I am?’ and they answered, ‘John the Baptist, but some say, Elijah, and others, one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ And Peter answered and said to Him, ‘You are the Christ.’” (Mark 8:27–29)
When he asked them, “Who do you say I am?” they had the answer that made a difference. The disciples confessed Jesus Christ as LORD!
The beautiful waterfalls and view of nearby Mt. Hermon were a refreshing contrast to the harsh, dry, barren and empty places of worship of the shrine of Pan and other false gods. We are thankful for the truth and that we can say “He is Christ the Lord!”
You won’t want to miss tomorrow’s stop in Caesarea: Herod’s amphitheater, hippodrome, and aqueduct.