Caesarea Philippi (Banias)—From the god Pan to the God-Man

Refreshing hope from the Son of God and the sons of Korah

In a land where water is life, it’s no wonder one of the major sources of water would become a primary place of worship. Regrettably, the god worshipped at Banias was not the God of Israel.

Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi forms the headwaters of the Jordan River. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.

The flowing streams and the nearby waterfalls offer some of the most pleasant and inviting surroundings for tours, holidays, and family outings. What an absolutely beautiful area!

But that’s not why Jesus came here.

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Jesus Has Many More Eye-Opening Truths to Teach You

A lesson from Bethsaida shows us how far we have to go.

Many people have never lived a day without knowing the name of Jesus. They grew up with the hymns and knowing the gospels. Others have taken their knowledge of the Savior further through intensive study, Bible school, or even seminary.

A Bethsaida Lesson—Jesus Wants to Teach You Much More

(Photo: The Plain of Bethsaida. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Although many years of knowing Christ often carry with them the danger of familiarity—i.e. complacency—not everyone falls prey to the threat. There is, in fact, another danger.

All of Jesus’ disciples grew up knowing their Bibles. They lived in anticipation of the Messiah. And finally, they had found Him.

  • By the time Jesus brought His disciples to Bethsaida that day, they had followed Him for more than two years.
  • They carried with them the admiration of the crowds.
  • They were leaders, promised by Christ to reign with Him.

What else was there to gain? They had gone as high as they could. Many of us might slip into the same error of thinking.

For the faithful follower of Jesus, there is another danger beyond complacency.

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2 Lessons from Mount Hermon we Must Never Forget

Applying Jesus' commands on and below the Mount of Transfiguration

Sometimes the cross we bear can obscure our view of heaven. God knows that. That’s why He gives us encouragement along with the difficult commands He issues.

Caesarea Philippi and Mount Hermon

(Photo: Caesarea Philippi at the foot Mount Hermon. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

At the foot of Israel’s highest peak, Mount Hermon—near Caesarea Philippi—Jesus told His disciples that He would die in Jerusalem and rise again (Matt. 16:21, 24). Shocked that the Messiah would die, the disciples outright rejected Jesus’ words. On the heels of His unthinkable statement, Jesus made another just as fantastic:

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. —Matthew 16:24

The cross exposed the disciples’ expectations of what they thought following Jesus would bring.

What do you expect from following Jesus? The lessons Jesus gave from Mount Hermon are two we must never forget.

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Great 360-Degree Images of 11 Israel Sites

On my recent trip to Israel, I used an app called 360 Panorama to take 360-degree images of biblical sites. I took more than 50 images, and generally, I think the app did well.

Great 360-Degree Images of 11 Israel Sites

(Photo: The Middle Bronze Gate at Tel Dan)

The app allows geotagging of images, and it notes both the location and direction of the image you take. But it isn’t perfect. Some of the geotagging is quirky, for example, it located Qumran in Jordan. Also getting a good “stitch” takes some practice.

In this post you can look around 11 key sites all over Israel. Next week, I’ll share some 360-degree images from Jerusalem.

Just click on the images and drag right or left to look around!

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Finding Hope in Jesus’ Transfiguration

Sometimes we need a good dose of hope and encouragement. We can get so obsessed with the weight of our cross that we forget Jesus showed us what lies beyond it. Today’s hardships can distract us from tomorrow’s hope.

Finding Hope in Jesus' Transfiguration

(Photo by Andrew Storms Happiness CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Jesus’ Transfiguration wasn’t some sideshow He did one day for fun. It came at a point when the disciples desperately needed some hope.

Scripture records it to offer us the same thing.

Some hope when we need it most.

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