The most striking place in Galilee has to be the Sea that bears its name. And the most striking time to see the sea?
Sunrise . . . for sure.
Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee flattens all objects into silhouettes and paints the sky a murky red. As the sun peeks over the eastern hills, it draws a line of light from the distant shore straight across the water to wherever you stand—and follows you like a spotlight.
The Sea of Galilee was—and still is—notorious for unexpected storms. A squall in March 1992 sent 10-foot-high waves crashing into downtown Tiberias, causing significant damage.
In the dark, early morning, sometime between 3 and 6 a.m., Jesus came to His disciples by “walking on the sea” (Matt. 14:25; Mark 6:48; John 6:19). But instead of expecting their miracle-working Lord, the dozen on board assumed Jesus was, of all things, a ghost!
He comforted them in reply, got in the boat and stilled the storm. Then Mark wrote what has always seemed an unusual line to me: “They were utterly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened” (Mark 6:51-52). They hadn’t learned a thing. Consequently, they had no idea what to expect!
These men didn’t expect Jesus to teach them about their inadequacy and dependency. Jesus had chosen the Twelve from out of all the multitudes who followed Him. They felt special. And as such, they expected special treatment. The storm struck them as strange because they expected Christ to give them privileged places in His kingdom. They did not anticipate Christ assigning struggles to change their hard heart.
If we’re honest, I think we’ll see that we resemble these men. The unrealistic expectations they had, which Jesus revealed, we also store in abundance. We have our agenda for how best to “serve God.” All other events—especially storms—just get in the way.
Tomorrow . . . Jerusalem!
(By the way, Israel passed a law on March 1 that bans fishing on the Sea of Galilee for two years! The number of fish has reached a dangerous low.)