The greatest message ever (Sweet repeat from April 12, 2018)

“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”  Matthew 7:28-29 NIV

What’s the most inspirational place you’ve ever been?  So many answers pop into my mind as I’ve had the good fortune of traveling extensively to many countries.  My top five would be in Israel.  One that really stands out is the Mount of the Beatitudes.  This site is on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, between Capernaum and Gennesaret.  It’s a traditional location, meaning that it’s not absolutely certain of being the genuine site.  However, since it has been recognized for 1600 years, the likelihood is pretty high.  

Jesus gave the greatest speech in the history of mankind here–the Sermon on the Mount.  (Read Matthew 5-7.)  Imagine a hillside that slopes gently to the Sea of Galilee in a natural bowl shape.  Sound travels well here.  One can easily visualize Jesus speaking to a crowd that may have numbered in the thousands.  

How do you think you’d feel standing where He may have stood two millennia ago for this event?  For me it caused a broad range of emotions.  Hearing someone read the Sermon on the Mount while looking over the scene proved to be an incredible experience.  Feeling sheer awe and humility come to mind in my memory.     

Why do you suppose Jesus gave His phenomenal sermon here on a hillside in a rural area rather than, for example, the Southern Steps to the Temple in busy Jerusalem?  A major trade route from Europe to Africa passed this location.  It provided a forum for Jesus to reach a large number of people who lived a long distance away.  He spread the gospel to other lands before the disciples did following His ascension.  

In fact, Jesus lived most of his life in this area, and He performed about 40% of all His miracles here.  When you see how much occurred in a few miles along the northern coast of the Sea of Galilee, it’s pretty mind-blowing.  

This Daily Devotional is a recommendation to experience a devotional like no other.  I highly recommend that you visit Israel.  Expensive–yes, but so worth every penny.  It will change your Bible from two-dimensional black-and-white to 3D living color.  You will receive a perspective and understanding that comes only from being there.  Every person I have ever met who has been there wants to return.  You will never be the same.  

Prayer:  Thank you, God, for Your land of Israel.  We are inspired by what You did in this land, what You are doing now in this land, and Your marvelous plan for this land in the future.   Amen

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