We’ll begin our Nazareth and Sea of Galilee Tour in Nazareth! the childhood town of Jesus, with the Basilica of the Annunciation; Church of St. Joseph. After learning about Nazareth we shall continue to Cana where according to the Gospel of John Jesus performed his first miracle; turning water into wine at a wedding feast (John 2:1-11). Although none of the synoptic gospels record the event; mainstream Christian tradition holds that it is the First Public Miracle of Jesus.
The other biblical references to Cana are also in John which mentions that Jesus is visiting Cana when he is asked to heal the son of a royal official at Capernaum, and John 21:2 where it is mentioned that Nathanael (sometimes identified with the Bartholomew included in the synoptic gospels) comes from Cana.
Nazareth and Sea of Galilee Tour: Touring Around The Sea of Galilee
The ideal spot to launch our tour at the Sea of Galilee would be Arbel National Park. Probably the Best View Over To The Sea of Galilee is over there. a short easy walk of ten minutes and you’ll have a 360 degrees view of the entire. On a good clear day, you would see Mt. Hermon bordering Syria; Mt Tabor in the Lower Galilee, and Mt. Meron, the highest summit in the Upper Galilee.
Below, around the Sea Of Galilee, all the towns and villages that Jesus visited are waiting for us to explore: Bethsaida, Capernaum, Chorazin. Those three were named in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke as “cities” in which Jesus performed “mighty works”. However, because those towns rejected his work, they were subsequently cursed (Matthew 11:20-24).
Nazareth and Sea of Galilee Tour: Capernaum: Jesus’ Own Town
The town is cited in all four gospels. Where it was reported to have been the home of Tax Collector Matthew, and located not far from Bethsaida, the hometown of the apostles Simon Peter & Andrew, James & John. Some readers take Mark 2:1 as evidence that Jesus may have owned a home in the town, but it is more likely that he stayed in the house of one of his followers here.
He certainly spent time teaching and healing there. One Sabbath Jesus taught in the Synagogue in Capernaum and healed a man who was possessed by an unclean spirit. Afterward, Jesus Healed Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever (Luke 4:38-39). According to Luke and Matthew, this is also the place where Jesus Healed the Servant of a Roman Centurion who had asked for his help. Capernaum is also the location of the Healing of the Paralytic lowered by friends through the roof to reach Jesus, as reported in Mark 2:1-12 and Luke 5:17-26.
Nazareth and Sea of Galilee Tour: Is Capernaum Really “Jesus Own Town”
In Matthew the town is referred to only as “his own city”, and the narrative in (Matthew 9:2-7) does not mention the paralytic being lowered through the roof. Most traditional biblical commentators assume that in Matthew 9:1-7 “his own town” means Capernaum.
According to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus selected this town as the center of his public ministry in Galilee after he left the small mountainous hamlet of Nazareth (Matthew 4:12-17). He also formally cursed Capernaum along with Bethsaida and Chorazin, saying “You will be thrown down to Hades!” (Matthew 11:23) because of their lack of faith in him as the Messiah.
Tabgha- the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes
Traditionally accepted as the place of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes. Also, it’s considered to be the location for the third Resurrection Appearances of Jesus (John 21:1-24) after his crucifixion. On-site, there is an impressive Mosaic Floor From the 5th century Byzantine Church. The Sasanians destroyed the church in 614 C.E. Today stands there the modern 20th-century Church of the Multiplication.
Nazareth and Sea of Galilee Tour: Primacy of Peter
Near Tabgh there is the traditional site where Simon Peter is receiving the Primacy of the rest of the disciples. According to the Catholic belief, Simon Peter was distinguished by Jesus to hold the First Place of Honor and Authority. Also in Catholic belief, Peter was, as the first Bishop of Rome, the first Pope. Furthermore, they consider every pope to be Peter’s successor and the rightful superior of all other bishops. The Catholic Church’s recognition of Peter as head of its Church on Earth is based on the interpretation of two passages from the canonical gospels of the New Testament: John 21:15-17 & Matthew 16:18; as well as sacred tradition.
Nazareth and Sea of Galilee Tour: The Location of the Miraculous Catch of Fish
This location is considered to be where The Miraculous Catch of Fish took place. According to John 21:11 “Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of 153 large fish, but even with so many the net was not torn.”
In the Gospel of John, seven of the disciples – Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, the sons of Zebedee (James and John) and two others decided to go fishing one evening after the Resurrection of Jesus but caught nothing that night. Early the next morning, Jesus (whom they had not recognized) called out to them from the shore:
“Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
When they reply in a negative Jesus responds: “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” After doing so, “They were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” Realizing the identity of their advisor; the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” at which Peter jumped into the water to meet him (an aspect of the story often illustrated in Christian art), while the remaining disciples followed in the boat, towing the net, which proved to be full with 153 large fish.
Nazareth and Sea of Galilee Tour: Mount of Beatitudes
A Byzantine church was erected lower down the slope from the current site in the 4th century. The current Roman Catholic Franciscan Chapel was built in 1937-38, following plans by Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi. It is in this area, according to tradition, Jesus gave the Sermon On The Mount. It includes some of the best-known teachings, such as the Beatitudes. In order to properly understand Jesus’ teachings, we’ll put in context; extracting the meaning of the sermon and how it’s playing a central role in the Modern Christian Ethos.
Nazareth and Sea of Galilee Tour: Sea of Galilee Boat
The ending note of our spiritual journey around the Sea of Galilee would be visiting the Ancient Galilee Boat. Dated from the 1st-century C.E, discovered in 1986. Other than the dating, there is no evidence connecting the boat to Jesus or his disciples.
With that said, the boat’s construction conforms to other boats built in that part of the Mediterranean during the period between 100 B.C.E and 200 B.C.E. Constructed primarily of Cedar planks joined together by pegged Mortise and Tenon joints and nails, the boat is shallow drafted with a flat bottom, allowing it to get very close to the shore while fishing.
However, the boat is composed of different wood types; suggesting either a wood shortage or that the boat was made of scrap wood and had undergone extensive and repeated fixes. The boat was row-able, with four staggered rowers, and also had a mast allowing the fishermen to sail the boat.
It’s optional from the boat’s location to go on a sail on the Sea of Galilee and sign off our tour reflecting while traveling where Jesus Walked On Water.