These last few days I’ve been in the Galilee, in the north of Israel, and it is the particularity of the place that’s made the biggest impression on me: it was on this beach that Jesus called to Peter and the others when they’d been fishing all night and caught nothing; it was on this lake where Jesus calmed the storms; it was this hillside on which Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount; it was in this synagogue in Capernaum where Jesus taught from the Torah; it was this cliff outside of Nazareth from which the neighbors of Jesus tried to throw him, etc. Of course, there is no way to know that it was this exact spot on this beach, or this exact spot on this hillside, or this exact spot on this cliff, but that’s not the point. The point is that these things actually happened, and they happened somewhere right here–if not this exact location, then it was another nearby. The reason this has hit me so hard is that history can be difficult to believe in: I can know intellectually that the Battle of Gettysburg happened, but it’s still hard to feel that it happened. Being here has made me feel what I already believed intellectually: Jesus really lived.
From my first few days in Israel, that’s been my biggest lesson: Jesus was actually here. And if he was, that changes everything.
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