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Friday, June 3 2011

The Ships Of Galilee

While the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee (which is actually a freshwater lake through which The Jordan River flows) were not far away, The Messiah lived at Nazareth, an inland town of Galilee, until about age 30. As such, He would not have had daily exposure to boats or ships. That changed however when He moved to Capernaum, which is located on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee - a move that also coincided with the time of the beginning of His public ministry, and further, the fulfillment of the prophecies of both.

"4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum [see also Why Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth And Capernaum?], which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 4:14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach [see also How Long Was John's Ministry?], and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:13-17 KJV)

It was immediately after that, that He began calling the twelve - the first four of which were fishermen of the Sea of Galilee.

"4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me [see also Friends Of Jesus], and I will make you fishers of men. 4:20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 4:22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him." (Matthew 4:18-22 KJV)

"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men"

It was therefore natural and inevitable that the ministry of "the prophet of Galilee" (see the Fact Finder question below) would involve fishing boats ("ships" in the KJV) and those who worked and travelled by means of them.

One of the first miracles that the twelve saw the Son of God do involved the calming of a stormy sea.

Fishermen On The Sea Of Galilee

"8:23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. 8:24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 8:25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.

8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

8:27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!" (Matthew 8:23-27 KJV)

The boats were sometimes used as a place from which the Messiah taught crowds of people. It had two practical purposes; sound usually carries well over water (it's not absorbed or reflected by objects before it reaches those who are listening) and the shoreline kept Him from being thronged i.e. "great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship."

"13:1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. 13:2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow [see Parables Of Jesus Christ: The Sower]; 13:4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 13:5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 13:6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 13:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 13:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 13:9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Matthew 13:1-9 KJV)

They also used their working boats for transportation to other ports or places along the lake - a means that served the Messiah well. It was during one of those crossings that the famous walking on water happened.

"14:22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 14:23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 14:24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

14:25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 14:26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

14:27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

14:28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

14:29 And he said, Come.

And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 14:30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

14:32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 14:33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God." (Matthew 14:22-33 KJV)

One of those port towns along the Sea of Galilee was Magdala - the home town of the first witness of the resurrection, Mary of Magdala (see True Witnesses Of The Resurrection).

"15:39 And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala." (Matthew 15:39 KJV)

One of the "Gospel" books was written by a fisherman, John. He recorded how the resurrected Messiah appeared to them on the sea, and on the boats, that had been the scene of much of His ministry.

"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: Why was the Messiah called "the prophet of Galilee"?
See The Prophet Of Galilee


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This Day In History, June 3

350: Nepotianus, of the Constantinian dynasty, proclaimed himself Emperor of Rome.

1083: Henry IV of Germany attacked Rome and captured St. Peter's Cathedral (see The Holy Roman Empire).

1098: During the First Crusade, the Crusaders took Antioch after a five-month siege.

1539: Hernando De Soto claimed what later became known as "Florida" for Spain.

1665: James Stuart, Duke of York (later King James II of England) defeated the Dutch fleet off the coast of Lowestoft.

1769: Captain James Cook, a year into his circumnavigation of the world, observed the transit of Venus over the sun.

1778: The first issue of The Montreal Gazette was published.

1818: The last of the Maratha Wars between the British and the Maratha Confederacy in India ended, securing British supremacy in India.

1841: Nicolas Appert died at age 91, The French chef and distiller, known as "the father of canning," invented the method of preserving food by enclosing it in hermetically sealed containers.

1885: The last battle fought in Canadian territory: Cree against the North West Mounted Police (later to become the Royal Canadian Mounted Police).

1934: Dr. Frederick Banting of Toronto, co-discoverer of insulin, was knighted by King George V.

1937: The Duke of Windsor, who had abdicated as King Edward VIII of England, married Wallis Simpson in France. He gave up the crown to marry her, the first voluntary abdication in 1,000 years. His brother became King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II.

1940: During the Second World War, the German Luftwaffe (air force) bombed Paris.

1989: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, revolutionary leader of Iran, died at age 89.

1989: China's crackdown on pro-democracy dissidents protesting in Tiananmen Square began.

1991: Mount Unzen erupted in Japan; 43 people were killed 43 people, all either scientists or journalists.



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