Just south of Capernaum, at the foot of the Mount of Beatitudes lies Tabgha. Tabgha’s name comes from a shortened Greek word meaning “seven springs.” It was named as such for the warm springs that make the land excellent for fishing. The ability to easily fish made Tabgha a popular spot for fishermen; including for the fishermen who would later become Jesus’s apostles. Located in Tabgha is the Church of Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish; shortened to the Church of Multiplication, where Jesus completed one of his great miracles. In addition to the Church of Multiplication, Tabgha is where Jesus appeared the fourth time after his resurrection and conferred primacy on Simon Peter. By visiting Tabgha, you can walk where Jesus once walked and imagine what it would have been like to be one of the 5,000 who ate the food Jesus had provided and blessed.
Tabgha – The Feeding the Multitude Miracle
After John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod Antipas, Jesus “withdrew in a boat…to a deserted place by himself.” Following along the shore were his faithful believers, and when he landed, he had compassion for them and cured their sick. After, Jesus’s disciples came to him and said that he should send the people away so that they may go buy food, for they were hungry.
However, Jesus did not want to send them away. Instead, he had the people sit in groups, and he split the disciples’ five loaves and two fish into pieces after a prayer of thanks and blessing. The pieces were placed in baskets and set with the groups. All the people ate and were satisfied, a tremendous miracle! The Church of Multiplication now stands on this sacred place. Today exactly at that location lies an amazing church; built on the remains of a much older church from the Byzantine period.
Along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, close to Tabgha, it is believed that Jesus cooked breakfast for his disciples and challenged Peter before confirming his primacy. The story goes that the disciples had spent the whole night fishing, but to no avail. Just after dawn, Jesus stood on the beach although they did not recognize him. He told the disciples to cast one more time; and their net quickly filled with 153 fish. When they returned to shore, they found that Jesus had made them breakfast. After eating, Jesus challenged Peter three times with the question; “Do you love me?” After his confirmation; Jesus made Peter the head of the apostles. Today, the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter sits where this event occurred.