Our visit to Galilee and especially Capernaum were really meaningful. It was becoming easier to imagine what this land must have been like during those days when Jesus walked here.
Imagine yourself around the Sea of Galilee in those days.
Often we think of Jesus in a more rural setting, but his time in Jerusalem and Galilee show his heart for the urban world as well. Around the Sea of Galilee was a densely populated region for the time with 200 towns with somewhere between 200,000-700,000 people.
Capernaum, where Jesus lived for about 18 months at the beginning of his ministry was located at a strategic crossroad which is why there were tax collectors and centurions.
Oppression, persecution, and disease.
It was into this environment that Jesus began his ministry in the area surrounding Galilee.
It is in those times people cling to their faith and/or stay connected with their community.
Jesus really began to do the miraculous in the area surrounding the Sea of Galilee (also known as Lake Gennesaret).
It was in the synagogue of this city that Jesus healed a man who was demon oppressed and later a man with a withered hand. The foundation of the synagogue can still be seen beneath the ruins of a 4th century AD synagogue.
Jesus was able to do many signs and wonders to demonstrate he was the Messiah.
“When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.””
Matthew 8:16-17 NIV
Here are some of the miracles Jesus performed in and around the Sea of Galilee:
- Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding (John 2:1-11).
- Jesus healed a nobleman’s son who was in Capernaum (John 4:46-54)
After the Sermon on the Mount
- Jesus healed a leper, a miracle the rabbis expected only the Messiah could do (Mt. 8:1-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16)
- Jesus helped the disciples catch a multitude of fish (Luke 5:1-11 and another time John 21:1-11)
- Jesus heals a demon possessed man at the synagogue (Mark 1:23-27; Luke 4:33-36)
- Jesus healed the centurion’s paralyzed servant (Mt. 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10)
- Jesus healed Peter’s Mother-in-Law (Mt 8:14,15; Mark 1:29-31; Luke 4:38,39)
- Jesus healed many others with disease (Mt 8:16,17; Mr 1:32-34; Lu 4:40,41)
- Jesus healed a paralytic man whose friends carried him (Mt 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:18-26)
Jesus healed a man with a withered hand (Mt 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11)
- Jesus healed the centurion’s servant (Mt 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10)
- Jesus raised the son of a widow back to life (Luke 7:11-17)
Sea of Galilee
- Jesus miraculously calms the storm while on the Sea (Mt 8:24-27; Mark 4:37-41; Luke 8:23-25)
- Jesus walks on the water (Mt 14:25; Mark 6:48; John 6:19)
Region of the Gadarenes
- Jesus healed the demon oppressed men living in the tombs and sent the spirits into the pigs (Mt 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-15; Luke 8:27-35)
- Jesus heals the woman with the issue of blood (Mt 9:20-22; Mark 5:22; Luke 8:41)
- Jesus brings Jairus’ daughter back from the dead (Mt 9:18,23-25; Mark 5:22; Luke 8:41)
- Jesus heals the two blind men who were calling out for help (Mt 9:27-30)
- Jesus heals a man who could not speak (Mt 9:32,33)
- Jesus heals a demon-oppressed man (Mt 12:22)
- Jesus feeds the five thousand (Mt 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:12-17; John 6:1-13)
- Jesus heals a blind man (Mark 8:23-27)
- Jesus heals many sick persons (Mt 15:30,31)
- Jesus feeds the four thousand (Mt 15:32-39; Mark 8:1-9)
The Greatest Miracle of All
Of all the miracles and places we saw, one of the most meaningful was a beach.
On this beach we remember the miracle found in John 21. In fact, if it was this exact beach, Jesus would have walked on these very basalt stones.
After Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared several times to his followers in Galilee – even multiplying the catch of fish just as he did at the beginning of his ministry.
The miracles of Jesus and his resurrection from the dead show he is not just a wise man, a prophet, or a remarkable teacher. He is the Messiah, the One sent to save humanity – offering forgiveness for our sins.
Reading about Peter’s interactions with Jesus brings a great deal to light for us.
Jesus miraculously multiplies the catch of fish, and Peter responds with the following:
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. – Luke 5:8-11
It was also on this beach on the Sea of Galilee, that Jesus not only did the same miracle by multiplying the catch of fish, but he also restored Peter.
Peter had disowned Jesus three times on the night Jesus was betrayed, but when Jesus appeared to him on the beach, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him. Peter always affirmed his love for Jesus.
Remember, Peter had hosted Jesus in his home in Capernaum. Peter had seen the miraculous – including his mother-in-law healed. Peter was the first to declare Jesus was the Messiah. Peter had heard the voice of God at the baptism of Jesus, and the glory of God at the transfiguration of Jesus.
Even still, when things got really tough, Peter bolted.
Yet, Jesus forgave and loved him.
The greatest miracle is the one that lasts forever – a healed heart.
All of those healed physically died later on.
Those whose hearts are healed through the forgiveness Jesus offers never truly die.
So what proof can we have about these miracles? Of course, there are the biblical accounts written by eye witnesses (See Is the Bible Reliable? by John Burke). There are extra-biblical accounts written by men who did not follow Jesus yet mention his miraculous works.
I think the greatest proof that Jesus did the miraculous is the way Peter and the others responded. Their forgiven and transformed hearts compelled them to go to the ends of the earth and even giving up their lives to share that the Messiah had come – healing all who want to be healed.
Apply this to your own life. Consider the following:
- Have you considered the miracles God has done in your life?
- Have you ever made a list of things for which you can be thankful?
- Have you ever considered all the ways God has forgiven you and/or helped you get past mistakes and even bad choices?
- How can you allow gratitude to change your perspective on a daily basis?
- If you follow Jesus, how can you be more intentional of allowing Jesus’ forgiveness motivate your willingness to serve him by serving others?