24 – Tour of Galilee
Where: South of the Sea of Galilee
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On Sunday morning, May 22, the first day of the week, Jesus and his disciples left Capernaum and traveled south along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. They passed Tiberius, the largest Roman/Greek city on the Sea of Galilee, and journeyed to the outlet of the Jordan River. Jesus had decided to go south of the Sea of Galilee and into the Valley of Jezreel.
As Jesus approached a town south of the lake, a man with a skin disease approached. He looked wild and unkempt. He approached Jesus repeating loudly that he was “unclean”. When he was within talking distance he stopped, fell to his knees, and put his face to the ground. Then he looked up at Jesus and said, ‘I am unclean. But I believe that if you are willing to help, you can restore me’. Here was a man that believed Jesus could exercise the power of God over leprosy.
Jesus walked forward, reached out, touched the man’s head, and spoke the word of God, ‘I choose to restore you. You are clean’. Then Jesus instructed the man to see a priest and to get an official “clean bill of health” by offering 2 birds, a lamb, some grain and some oil at the temple, in order to be restored to his family and friends. Then Jesus directed the man not to talk to others about what had happened until he was officially restored. But when the man was making his plans for the offerings, he was hard pressed to explain what had happened.
When the local people heard what Jesus had done, many remembered how Naaman had been cured of leprosy by dipping himself seven times in the Jordan River not far from there, as he had been instructed by the prophet Elisha. And the people began to tell anyone who would listen, of how God had sent another messenger.
The local people quickly spread the word that Jesus was in the area and could heal diseases. Within hours more and more people arrived. Jesus taught and healed. He stayed the night in the town.
But the people, instead of seeking God, began to inundate Jesus for free medical service. So, the next day, Jesus withdrew from the towns south of the lake, and journeyed northwest, up the Valley of Jezreel.
For the next week to ten days, Jesus and the disciples journeyed around Galilee. The region of Galilee is about 50 miles from north to south, and 30 miles from west to east, with hundreds of villages and small towns, and even a few cities.
Jesus and the disciples slept in the open, or in homes if they were invited. They visited a local Synagogue on the Sabbath. They would eat food offered to them as hospitality, picked as they walked, or (when necessary) they would even buy food. They would drink water from the Jordan River that comes down from snow capped Mount Hermon (“the grandfather”), the Spring of Harod [today] where Gideon prepared for battle against the Midianites, the Kishon River which overflowed to help Barak and Deborah defeat Sisera, the Stream of Meron where Joshua defeated a combined army of Canaanites, and from numerous wells.
As Jesus proclaimed the coming kingdom in the villages, some of the people recognized him. They had been at the Jerusalem Passover festival and had seen the healings that Jesus had done, and they welcomed Jesus. Others heard rumors of his teachings about the kingdom, and about the “signs” he had done, and were willing to give him a chance to teach them.
No questions have been asked yet.