We are walking the Jesus Trail in Israel — from Nazareth to Capernaum.
We arrive in Tabgha, where many important events occurred: (1) Jesus called his first apostles (Mark 1:16-20) (2) Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount (Mark 5:1) (3) Jesus healed a leper (Mark 8:1-4)(4) Miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Mark 6:30-44) (5) Jesus walked on water (Mark 6: 45-57) (6) Jesus met his disciples after his resurrection (John 21: 1-14) (7) Jesus’ appearance to 500 (1 Cor. 15:6)
In Tabgha, we see the first sign for Capernaum, our ultimate destination, the location of St. Peter’s house and the Orthodox Church of Capernaum.
There were probably two separate events where Jesus fed a large crowd with a small amount of food. In Tabgha, the miracle is termed the “Feeding of the 5000.”
Jesus was teaching a large crowd in a place where there was nothing to eat. It was growing late. Mark (chapter 6) tells what happened:
38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
The early Judeo-Christians maintained a rock upon which Jesus was said to have laid out the original loaves and fishes. Later, during the Byzantine era (mid 3rd century), a church was built on this site. The ruins of this structure were excavated in 1932 and a new church built in 1982. The original rock can be seen under the main altar. There is a fish pond in front of the church.
I enter the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes (the feeding of the 5000).
Nearby is the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter. After Jesus was crucified, his desciples returned to Tabgha and went fishing. They had no luck until a man on the shore suggested they try fishing on the other side of their boat. They tried this and caught a huge number of fish. When they arrived at the shore they discovered that Jesus was there and that he had already built a fire to cook the fish for breakfast.
This church commemorates a rock where Jesus laid out the breakfast of fish for his disciples. At the place, Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Peter answered “Yes,” each time.”
John (21:17) tells the story:
“The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.”
The Catholic Church regards this as an indication that St. Peter was placed in charge, making him the first Pope. Jesus said that Peter was the Rock on which the church was founded.
I pray for you at this place. I light a candle for you and touch the rock. May you find your inner way.
Not far from this church is a well and spring where Job lived. Job, a righteous man, was tested by Satan. He lost his health, possessions, and family. He was afflicted by terrible sores on his body but he would not give up worshipping God.
Job’s spring flows from his well into the Sea of Galilee. Job washed his sores with this warm mineral water.
We visit Job’s well, said to be near a cave where he lived.
Not far from Tabgha, is a hill where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount.
Tourists arrive by bus on the other side of the hill but we walk up from the Sea of Galilee.
This is a type of religious experience. I do not feel as close to God when surrounded by tourists as when I am surrounded by nature. We see the structure built to commemorate the place where Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was delivered.
We come to the backside of the compound of the Church of the Beatitudes (where Jesus gave the sermon) and look at the construction equipment.
Lao tsu writes (chapter75):
“When taxes are too high,
people go hungry.
When the government is too intrusive,
people lose their spirit.
Act for the people’s benefit.
Trust them; leave them alone.”
Lao tsu says “Trust them, leave them alone.”
Jesus does not interfere with the natural order to any major degree. He did not call for a political revolution, as some people desired. He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
What does “poor in spirit” mean?
I pull up an answer from the Internet — a good authority regarding what Christians believe. It says:
“To be poor in spirit is to recognize your utter spiritual bankruptcy before God.”
It says that the solution is to trust Jesus.
Here is what I say to you:
Jesus is inside of you, in your heart. You can come to realize this through silence. Jesus is in all of us. You can trust Jesus, your inner heart, and the inner heart of all people.
Jesus did not say, “Some people are good and others are bad.”
Thinking that some are good and others are bad is not the way to peace.
Trust your inner heart.