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The Sea Of Tiberias

In the first century, "Tiberias" was a city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee (which is actually a freshwater lake through which The Jordan River flows). The city was named after the Emperor Tiberius (see the Fact Finder question below) who reigned from about 14 to 37 AD i.e. Tiberius was the Roman emperor at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

The Sea of Galilee was earlier known as the Sea of Chinnereth (or other various rendered spellings into English, including "Cinneroth" in the verse quote below), from a town of that name.

"15:20 So Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of the hosts which he had against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelbethmaachah, and all Cinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali." (1 Kings 15:20 KJV)

"34:11 And the coast shall go down from Shepham to Riblah, on the east side of Ain; and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the side of the sea of Chinnereth eastward." (Numbers 34:11 KJV)

In the first century, it was known as both the Sea of Galilee (i.e. the Sea in Galilee) and the Sea of Tiberias - after the lakeshore city that was named after the emperor Tiberius (note the different translated spellings i.e. "Tiberias" for the town and lake, and "Tiberius" for the emperor).

"The sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias"

The use of "Tiberias" is found only in the Gospel account of John (which may indicate that John's account was written slightly later than that of Matthew, Mark and Luke). The first reference involved a miraculous feeding of a multitude.

Galilee

"6:1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. 6:2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. 6:3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 6:4 And the passover [see Christ's Passover; listen also to the Sermons The Days Of Christ's Passover, Christ's Passover: The Death And Birth Of The Saviour and How To Observe Passover], a feast of the Jews, was nigh.

6:5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 6:6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.

6:7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.

6:8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, 6:9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

6:10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 6:11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.

6:12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 6:13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world [see The Prophet Of Galilee]. 6:15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone." (John 6:1-15 KJV)

The second recorded incident was the Messiah's famous walking on the water while they were sailing across the lake from Tiberias (on the west shore) to Capernaum (on the north shore; see the map).

"6:16 And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, 6:17 And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. 6:18 And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. 6:19 So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. 6:20 But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. 6:21 Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.

6:22 The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; 6:23 Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks: 6:24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus." (John 6:16-24 KJV)

The third mention involves the Messiah's appearance to the apostles, after His resurrection, when they had returned to fishing on the lake.

"21:1 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed he himself. 21:2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. 21:3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

21:4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

21:5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat?

They answered him, No.

21:6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

21:7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, for he was naked, and did cast himself into the sea. 21:8 And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. 21:9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.

21:10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.

21:11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. 21:12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. 21:13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. 21:14 This is now the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead." (John 21:1-14 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who were the two Roman emperors that reigned during the human lifetime of Jesus Christ?
See Caesar Augustus and Tiberius; see also New Testament Roman Emperors


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