This morning my tour group and I checked out of the Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv (what a nice place) and boarded the bus for Caesarea National Park. King Herod the Great (not the Herod who sought to have baby Jesus killed,) built Caesarea. When I got off the bus, my mind went back in time to thousands of years ago.
I sat down in the Herodian Amphitheatre and tried to imagine what it would be like to attend a sporting event back then. According to the brochure, the U-shape venue is more than 250 m long and 50 m wide. Some experts say it might be the stadium mentioned by first-century Jewish historian, Josephus Flavius in Jewish War (Antiq. ll:9, 3). I also got a chance to see some of the archaeological designs made popular by the Romans after they gained control of Caesarea.
After that we went to the ancient city of Megiddo, which is also known as Armageddon. Megiddo was once a fortified city that overlooks Jezreel Valley. The city’s other name, “Armageddon,” will one day resurface in our minds as the return of our Lord draws near.
After taking tons of pictures and eating a good lunch, we all boarded the bus and drove to the place I’ve always wanted to visit. Nazareth was the highlight of Day 2 of my trip to Israel. I toured a place called Nazareth Village where I saw a wine press that dates back to biblical time, and I saw some not so hospitable sheep.
The city is bustling with tourism, but many of its residents don’t know Jesus. That part makes me sad. The childhood town of Jesus is populated with people who don’t have a relationship with Him. The tour guide told us that when he was in the Israeli Army and would get attacked by the enemy, he’d not only pray for miracles, he depended on them! That’s what Nazareth needs.
Jesus Christ raised people from the dead and turned water into wine, but He never worked a miracle in His own hometown. Let’s ask the Lord to move in Nazareth, so the residents can come into relationship with the Man who put their city on the map.