Monthly Archives: April 2011

Jesus visited Bethany often

The crowds of pilgrims who had come to Jerusalem for Passover overloaded the system. Many of them likely slept in the open on the Mount of Olives and other places near the city. On Monday evening,

And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. (Mark 11:11 ESV)

Luke tells us that it was His custom to do so.

And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. (Luke 22:39 ESV)

Bethany, the village of Mary, Martha and Lazarus (John 11:1), was located on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives about two miles from Jerusalem (John 11:1, 18). The photo below shows the Church of St. Lazarus at Bethany. The walk from the main street goes through a pleasant garden. This was the Jerusalem-Jericho road before the building of the tunnel and the new highway.

Church at Bethany. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Church at Bethany on eastern slope of Mount of Olives. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Here on the eastern slope of Olivet we find the traditional tomb of Lazarus. In the time of Jesus the mountain was likely filled with olive trees.  Jerusalem may be seen only after one reaches the crest of the mountain.

Jesus also visited in the home of Simon the leper at Bethany, where a woman anointed his head with oil as He reclined at the table (Matthew 26:6-7).

Tradition places the ascension of Jesus on the top of the Mount of Olives, but Luke says it took place at Bethany (Luke 24:50-51).

Roman chariot races at Jerash

Several times in the past we have called attention to the RACE show at Jerash, Jordan. RACE stands for Roman Army Chariot Experience. The show is conducted in the Roman hippodrome at Jerash, one of the cities of the Decapolis in the time of Jesus.

Large crowds followed Him from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. (Matthew 4:25 CSB)

BBC News has posted a short video about the Roman chariot races and the Roman Army show. Click here to view.

Our photo shows one of the tourists being taken for a wild ride after the show. It appears he may have lost his hair during the ride. Note the background of the ruins of Roman Jerash and the mountains of biblical Gilead.

Chariot Race in the Roman Hippodrome at Jerash. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Chariot Race in the Roman Hippodrome at Jerash. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Click on the photo for a larger image.

HT: Bible Places Blog.

Early morning view across the Sea of Galilee

The photo below shows an early morning scene across the Sea of Galilee from Tiberias. Perhaps we should say across “the Sea of Tiberias” as John does.

After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). (John 6:1 NAU)

After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. (John 21:1 NAU)

The view is from the Caesar hotel in Tiberias across the roof tops of some of the older buildings of Tiberias to the north east. The northern shore is clearly visible, as well as the area of biblical Bashan and of the Geshurites to the east (Joshua 12:5; 13:11).

NE view across the Sea of Galilee from Tiberias. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

NE view across the Sea of Galilee from Tiberias. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The photo was made January 30, 2011, a time when the heavy clouds might be expected. Notice the shallow water in the lower right corner of the photo.

The joy of hidden treasures

It doesn’t happen every day, but hoards of coins are sometimes found in archaeological excavations and other places by chance. The photo below shows a small portion of the Ussfiyeh Hoard of coins now displayed in the Erezt Israel Museum, Tel Aviv University, Israel. I think Ussfiyeh is a Druze town on Mount Carmel, but I have found nothing else about the site. If a reader knows more, please share.

Ussfiyeh Hoard of Tyrian Shekels & Other Coins. Eretz Israel Museum.

Ussfiyeh Hoard of Tyrian Shekels & Other Coins. Eretz Israel Museum.

The information sign with the display reads as follows:

The Ussfiyeh hoard originally contained 6000 Tyrian shekels, half-shekels and Augustaean denarii. Although Temple shekels bore pagan designs, they were accepted as Temple taxes in Jerusalem. The hoard probably represents a delivery of Temple tax intercepted and hidden away due to the events of the Jewish War which broke out in 66 C.E.

Jesus used an illustration related to a treasure found in a field.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew 13:44 ESV)

Click on the photo for a larger image suitable for use in teaching.

The mosaics of the Antakya Museum

Yesterday’s post about Antakya, Turkey (biblical Antioch of Syria, Acts 11), was highly popular. We had more than 1400 hits. Thanks for your interest. We hope you will find other entries of interest as well.

Take a look at the two good comments on the previous post. One from Balagebalogh calls attention to the mosaics from Antakya that are in the Baltimore Museum of Art and to his illustration of Antioch, and another from TBrinley calling attention to the mosaics in the Antakya Museum. I haven’t had the opportunity to visit the Baltimore museum, but I have been to the Antakya Museum a few times.

I thought I would share just one of the many mosaics displayed in the Antakya Museum. These mosaics typically date to the fourth or fifth century as I recall. (I am away from home and do not have access to my usual sources.)

Our photo shows a beautifully preserved mosaic displayed on a large wall. I am taking the liberty of copying info about it from Sacred Destinations, a site we have recommended before. Regarding this mosaic the site says,

Detail of mosaic from the floor of the 5th-century Bath of Apolausis, a small suburban bath uncovered in the Antioch excavations on the slopes of Mount Silpios, east of the city. The woman depicted in the middle is Soteria (Salvation) who formed a pair with Apolausis (Enjoyment). Soteria and Apolausis were minor deities who had the power to deliver people from danger and were popularly associated in late antiquity with baths, whose warm waters could give pleasure and soothe pain. Antakya Museum.

Antakya Museum mosaic displayed on wall. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Antakya Museum mosaic displayed on wall. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Beautiful, isn’t it? Turkey is filled with similar mosaics. I recall especially those from Zeugma displayed in the Gaziantep Museum.

Antioch of Syria, or is that Turkey?

Antioch of Syria on the Orontes River was founded by Seleucus I Nicator in 300 B.C. Antioch became a Roman city in 64 B.C. and capital of the new province of Syria. It became the third largest city of the Roman Empire after Rome and Alexandria.

After Jerusalem, Antioch was the second great center of Christianity in New Testament times and where the disciples of Christ were first called Christians (Acts 11:19-30; 13:1-3; 14:26-28; 15:1-41; 18:22-23; Gal. 2).

Antioch is now called Antakya and is part of the HatayProvince of Turkey, but is near the border with Syria. The area became part of Turkey in 1939.

The photo below was made from the bridge crossing the Orontes River with a view east toward Mount Silipius. Click on the photo for an image suitable for use in presentations.

Antakya, Turkey. Antioch of Syria of the New Testament. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

View east toward Mount Silpius from the Orontes River. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A church called the Cave Church of St. Peter honors Peter’s visit to the city (Gal. 2). This is a late Roman Catholic addition to the city, having become a Catholic church in 1946. Not the best choice, I think. Peter’s association with Antioch did not turn out too well. At first he ate with the new Gentile converts, but under pressure from James of Jerusalem played the hypocrite and withdrew from the Gentiles.

But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. (Galatians 2:11-13 ESV)

I suggest you read Galatians 1 and 2, for a more complete account of this event.

From here the great journeys of Paul to take the Gospel to the Gentile world began (Acts 13:1-2).

Homemade in the Golan Heights

Today I am traveling, but I thought I would share a photo that illustrates one of the educational and sometimes fun things about travel in cultures other than our own. This Arab peddler has set up his table in the Golan Heights at the overlook from Israel into Kuneitra (Quneitra), Syria.

He seems to have a nice variety of the local goodies: olives, olive oil, nuts, and various fruits. Are those pickled eggs? He has already made two sales and it appears he is about to make a third. It can be really chilly in the Golan Heights, even in early May. Some of the potential customers would probably more quickly buy a sweat shirt.

Peddling homemade goodies in the Golan Heights. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Peddling homemade goodies in the Golan Heights. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.