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Sea of Galilee: view from boat ride
Bill’s St. Peter fish at Ein Gev Kibbutz
Israel Pilgrims at the Jordan River

Lois standing beside the Jordan River

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  –Mark 1:1
BEGINNINGS: Gospel writer Mark certainly had in mind Genesis
1 (In the beginning the Lord created the
heavens and the earth.)
as he opened his gospel.  Like Genesis, Mark’s gospel begins packed with action. No
nativity scenes here; Mark jumps in with the prophecy of Isaiah pointing ahead
to John the Baptist (1:2-4).
By verse 9, Jesus is baptized.  Verse 14: Jesus begins preaching in Galilee. The first
disciples—four fishermen: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John—are quickly
called and immediately follow Jesus (vs. 16-20).  Then Jesus entered the synagogue in Capernaum and healed a
man with an unclean spirit.  After
that Jesus went with his disciples to Simon Peter’s house and healed his
mother-in-law and many others.  All
that and we are not even through the first chapter of Mark.
TODAY WE SAW ALL THOSE BEGINNING PLACES and more.  We dipped our hands and in water of the
Jordan River, walked along the shores of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus called
those first disciples, saw Simon Peter’s house where Jesus did all that
healing.  Not only that, we visited
the location believed to be where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount
(Matthew 5-7), and the site traditionally identified as the place Jesus
miraculously fed over 5,000 with just five loaves and two fish (Mark
6:30-44).  What a beginning
to our time in the Holy Land!
AN ENDING TOO: We also saw the mensa Christi (table of Christ) located where it is believed the
risen Jesus fed breakfast to disciples after He guided them to haul in 153
large fish with just one drop of their fishing net.  That is my favorite fishing story in the Bible and brings to
an end to the fourth gospel (John 21). 
I picked up seashells and stones from the beach there to bring home to
show you.
Wish you could be here with us.  Yet, you do not need to be here to know that Jesus is with
us from the beginning, calls us to follow Him just as He called the first
disciples, comes into our homes to bring healing, faithfully feeds us, and as
our risen Lord sends us out to feed His sheep.