Tag Archives: Ministry of Jesus

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto #22

This unusual photo of Capernaum was made from the hill above, up toward the Mount of Beatitudes. The photo shows the northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee with the Golan Heights visible.

Capernaum became the Galilean center for the ministry of Jesus.

And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, (Matthew 4:13 ESV)

Capernaum from above the location on the Sea of Galilee. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

View to the east of Capernaum from above the site. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This photo was made May 15, 2010. The sky was fairly clear and the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee is visible with perhaps a portion of the Plain of Bethsaida. Those are dried thistles in the foreground of the photo.

Learning from the Wildflowers of the Field

Thanks to a number of new followers we are only 25 shy of 3000. Thanks to those who shared my note about this. Here is the post I promised about the flowers of the field.

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In the spring of the year many beautiful flowers adorn the fields in Israel. After a winter of heavy rains, I think the flowers I saw in late March and early April this year were the most abundant. Jesus spoke of the flowers of the field.

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, (Matthew 6:28 ESV)

Louw-Nida Lexicon says the Greek word krinon, which is often translated lilies, is “any one of several types of flowers, usually uncultivated – ‘wild flower.'” After listing several possibilities, BAGD says, “Perhaps Jesus had no definite flower in mind, but was thinking of all the wonderful blooms that adorn the fields of Galilee.

Here are a couple of English versions that reflect the understanding of the lexicons.

Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers of the field grow; they do not work or spin. (Matthew 6:28 NET)

And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. (Matthew 6:28 CSB)

Without much comment I will show you a few of the flowers I saw at Neot Kedumim. For a larger image suitable for use in teaching just click on each photo.

Flowers of the field at Neot Kedumim. ferrelljenkins.blog.

Beautiful yellow flowers adorn the hillsides at Neot Kedumim. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Look closely and you will see a butterfly enjoying the flowers.

Flowers at Neot Kedumim.

Butterflies enjoy the wildflowers of the field at Neot Kedumim. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Pink is a nice color, too.

Wildflowers of the Field. ferrelljenkins.blog.

Pink flowers of the field at Neot Kedumim. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

It is common to associate the Anemone with the “lily” of the field Jesus mentioned.

Flowers of the field. ferrelljenkins.blog.

The Anemones were scattered here and there along the trail at Neot Kedumim. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Now, notice how Jesus used the flowers of the field to teach about worry and over concern about the things of this life.

Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying?
28 And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread.
29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these!
30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you– you of little faith?
31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat? ‘ or ‘What will we drink? ‘ or ‘What will we wear?’
32 For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:27-34 CSB)

The next time you see beautiful flowers think about this.

Ferrell’s Favorite Fotos # 12

The traditional Garden of Gethsemane on the western slope of Mount Olivet.

The traditional Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed to the Father prior to his arrest, trials, and crucifixion. FerrellJenkins.blog.

This is the traditional Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed to the Father prior to his arrest, trials, and crucifixion. The Temple Mount is visible from this location. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. (Mark 14:32-35 ESV)

If Jesus was not at this specific spot, it could not have been far away.

For the full account read Mark 14:32-46 and Matthew 26:36-46.

Walls Around Jerusalem National Park – # 3

This post is a sort of addendum to the two previous posts on the Walls Around Jerusalem National Park.

David McClister, head of the Biblical Studies department at Florida College, and I have discussed what we called the Shimon Gibson Site several times in the past few years. We corresponded after he was on his way to Israel for a tour. I was aware that I needed better photos for a couple of points of the discussion about the possible location of the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement and in Aramaic Gabbatha. You may want to glance over the two previous posts to understand the importance of these photos.

From Israel, David sent me the photos I needed.

My photos did not show clearly enough the rock formation where Gibson thinks the bema where Jesus stood before Pilate was located. The site was included in my photos, but not as clearly as I wished.

On one of my photos I had marked the place of a pavement that once covered the area. Remember that archaeology is a systematic destruction. In order to reach the level below the pavement, the pavement must be removed. In this case a few paving stones remain to be seen.

This photo shows a section of a pavement area. Photo by David. ferrelljenkins.blog.

This photo shows a section of a pavement area. Photo by David

The next photo more clearly shows the area of the judgment seat or bema. Gibson thinks this matches the descriptions given in the Gospel accounts. A couple of steps remain. The thought is that the Prefect would set up a canopy and judge from this place.

The natural platform where Gibson contents Jesus stood before Pilate. Photo by David McClister.

The natural platform where Gibson contends Jesus stood before Pilate. Photo by David McClister.

To the south (right) of the steps we see in the photo above, there is what looks like a column base that Kramer says was found near where the young lady is standing. This stone does not have a cup in it as we will see at Dan, but it may have held a post of some sort to support a canopy.

A carved stone piece that looks like the base of a column. Photo by David McClister.

A carved stone piece that looks like the base of a column. Photo by David McClister.

In lecturing to his group, Kramer reminds them of the podium at the inner gate of Dan where the king or a judge might sit to hear issues brought by the people .

According to Avraham Biran this is where a judge or king could site under his canopy. The stone base, one of four, was used to hold one of the posts of the canopy. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

According to Avraham Biran this is where a judge or king could site under his canopy. The stone base, one of four, was used to hold one of the posts of the canopy. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A now-faded display sign at the gate of Dan illustrates what might have happened at this place. In a different incident King David is said to have taken his seat in the gate to receive the people.

Then the king arose and took his seat in the gate. And the people were all told, “Behold, the king is sitting in the gate.” And all the people came before the king. Now Israel had fled every man to his own home. (2 Samuel 19:8 ESV)

Sign in the gate of Dan illustrating the purpose of the podium that was uncovered there. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sign in the gate of Dan illustrating the purpose of the podium that was uncovered there. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Carl Rasmussen includes a painting by Balage and a photo taken when a canopy was in place over the podium at Dan. See his Holy Land Photos site.

You will notice a difference in the bases where poles to hold the cover over the monarch may have been placed, but we are talking about two different periods – one from the Iron Age of Israel and the other from the Herodian Roman period.

Hopefully these photographs will help us to understand more clearly what happened at this place.

My thanks to David for his extra effort in getting the photos I needed.

Walls Around Jerusalem National Park – # 2

As we walk south in the garden, or along the paved path, we come to an area that looks like it might have been an approach to a gate with walls on either side. Against the Ottoman city wall we see steps but no gate in the wall. The sign at this part of the wall is labeled The “Hidden” Gate which Shimon Gibson thinks is the Gate of the Essenes.

Recognizing that there are scholars who dismiss the Gospel account of the trial of Jesus, Gibson says there is reason to take a more positive approach based on recent archaeological evidence.

This chapter cautiously argues against taking such a negative approach to the subject of the trial of Jesus as portrayed in the Gospels. The basis for this conclusion is a new study I have made on the overall layout of the palace of Herod the Great, which later became the seat of the Roman governor when in residence in Jerusalem, the praetorium. My work also highlights previously unpublished archeological discoveries pertaining to the appearance of the western gateway of the palace/praetorium, which I think is the Gate of the Essenes referred to by Josephus. This monumental gateway had inner and outer gates flanked by large towers, and these gates were separated one from the other by a large, open, and paved court at its center, with a rocky area on its north. In the first century CE, the gateway undoubtedly provided direct access to the palace grounds, which incorporated palace residences, an ornamental pleasure garden, and military barracks. Remarkably, these archeological remains fit very well with John’s description of the place of Jesus’ temporary incarceration and the trial in front of Pilate, and with the two topographical features that are mentioned by him, the lithostrotos and gabbatha. (“The Trial of Jesus at the Jerusalem Praetorium: New Archaeological Evidence,” pp. 97-118 in C.A. Evans (ed.), 2011 The World of Jesus and the Early Church: Identity and Interpretation in Early Communities of Faith. Peabody: Hendrickson.)

Our photo below shows the gateway approach, the stone steps leading to a gate that is no longer there, and (to the left) a bema or sort of platform where a temporary judgment seat could have been erected. All of this area was covered with earth and debris before excavations were undertaken.

The Herodian gateway approach to the Praetorium and Herodian palace. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Herodian gateway approach to the Praetorium and Herodian palace. The bema or judgment seat is the large stone to the left of the image. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

As we take a closer look at the steps cut into the bedrock and a jumble of stones of various periods built into the wall we realize that we need an illustration to help us understand what we have here.

The Hidden Gate built on bedrock. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Hidden Gate built on bedrock. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The sign at the site illustrates what has been found in the various archaeological excavations in the area. There was a gate here, designated as the “Hidden” Gate, which Gibson thinks was the Gate of the Essenes mentioned by Josephus.

Sign explaining the "Hidden" Gate in the west wall of the ancient city of Jerusalem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sign explaining the “Hidden” Gate in the west wall of the ancient city of Jerusalem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Several excavations have taken place in the general area both inside and outside the gate (see the references at the end of this article). The sources that I list at the end of the article have good drawings to show the location of Herod’s Palace and the Praetorium.

The aerial photo below begins on the left (north) with the Citadel. As we move to the right (south) we have the area of Herod the Great’s palace, then the area of the Praetorium (now known as the Armenian Garden). The gateway which is marked with a yellow circle would have been the entrance to this area. Click on the image for a larger photo.

Aerial view of the portion of the west wall under consideration. In it you will see the Citadel and the Armenian Garden. The place of the "Hidden Gate" is circled. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Aerial view of the portion of the west wall under consideration. In it you will see the Citadel and the Armenian Garden. The place of the paved approach and the “Hidden Gate” is circled. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Here is another aerial view made from the southeast showing the entire area from the Jaffa Gate and the Citadel to the southern wall.

Armenian Quarter of the Old City. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Armenian Quarter of the Old City. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Our next photo shows the citadel and the palace of Herod the Great in the Second Temple model at the Israel Museum. The palace is shown with two buildings and a large courtyard between them. Gibson and others would make that area smaller as a square area. The “Hidden Gate” is approximately where the letter “g” of blog is located. Archaeologists point out that Herod’s palace was not a single building but a complex. The Roman prefect (governor) resided at Caesarea Maritima, but made his residence here when in Jerusalem (Matthew 27:2, 11, et al.).

The Herod ruling at the time of the crucifixion was Herod Antipas (Mark 6:21; Luke 3:1; 23:7). He was the son of Herod the Great who was Tetrarch of Galilee from 4 B.C. to A.D. 39. The Gospel account in Luke 23:1-12 agrees with the view that Antipas and Pilate were residing in close proximity to each other.

Herod's palace depicted in the Second Temple Model at the Israel Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Herod’s palace depicted in the Second Temple Model at the Israel Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Balage (Archaeology Illustrated) has graciously allowed us to use his drawing which illustrates the viewpoint of Shimon Gibson. There are problems associated with this location. Would this be a suitable area for a crowd of Jews to gather, and how would Jesus get from here to the place of crucifixion? Gibson suggests that Jesus went back through the Praetorium. At the current time it would be easy to return to Jaffa gate and continue to Golgotha, but I do not know how easy that would have been in A.D. 33.

The site where Jesus stood before Pilate, according to Gibson. Art used by permission of Balage, Archaeology Illustrated.

The site where Jesus stood before Pilate, according to Gibson. Art used by permission of Balage, Archaeology Illustrated.

The Gospel of John provides a fairly detailed account of the movement of Pilate when he was responsible for Jesus. John states that the Jews led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas, the priestly ruler,  to the governor’s headquarters (18:28). We understand that Pilate stayed in the Palace of Herod when he visited Jerusalem.

Since the Jews would not enter the area where the Gentile Prefect was staying, Pilate “went outside to them” (v. 29), then “entered his headquarters again” (v. 33). After questioning Jesus, Pilate “went back outside to the Jews” (v. 38), then he “took Jesus and flogged him” (19:1). I take this to mean that he took Jesus back in. After Jesus was flogged, crowned with thorns, arrayed in a purple robe, and mistreated by the soldiers, Pilate “went out again” (19:4).

At this point “Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe” (v. 4). Pilate presented Jesus to the Jews with what might have been a scoffing tone: “Behold the man!” (v. 5). When the chief priests and the officers called for the crucifixion of Jesus, and heard the charge that Jesus “made himself the Son of God”, Pilate “entered his headquarters again” (v. 9) and spoke with Jesus. Pilate was unsuccessful in releasing Jesus. When the Jews threatened Pilate with no longer being a friend of Caesar, Pilate “brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement and in Aramaic Gabbatha (v. 13). Further demands for the crucifixion of Jesus prompted Pilate to deliver him over to them (v. 16).

Finally, the text says that Jesus “went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. (vv. 17-18).

Where was the pavement? There was a pavement at this “Hidden Gate”. To the right of the steps that led through the wall you will see a section of paving just above the yellow line I have made. You must recall that the area we have been looking at did not always have this nice manicured look. Much soil and stones had to be removed by the archaeologists as they did their work.

To the right of the bedrock steps that led through the outer wall you will see a section of pavement with a yellow line below it. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

To the right of the bedrock steps that led through the outer wall you will see a section of pavement with a yellow line below it. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Some Suggested Sources:

The major sources I used are listed by author.

Bahat, D. and M. Broshi. “Excavations in the Armenian Garden.” Jerusalem Revealed: Archaeology in the Holy City. Ed. Yigael Yadin. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1968-1974. 55-56.

Broshi, Magen and Shimon Gibson. “Excavations Along the Western and Southern Walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.” Ancient Jerusalem Revealed. Ed. Hillel Geva. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1994. 147-155.

Gisbson, Shimon. The Final Days of Jesus: The Archaeological Evidence. New York: Harper One, 2009.

__________. “The Trial of Jesus at the Jerusalem Praetorium: New Archaeological Evidence.” The World of Jesus and the Early Church: Identity and Interpretation in Early Communities of Faith. Ed. C. A. Evans. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2011. 97-118. *This paper is also available on Gibson’s page at Academia.edu.

Kramer, Joel, Actor. Praetorium Jerusalem Part 1 with Joel Kramer, You Tube, 2018. Accessed 24 May 2018.*There are several different videos available of Joel Kramer explaining the Praetorium.

Kramer, Joel, Actor. Praetorium, You Tube, 2015. Accessed 24 May 2018.

An unusual sunrise on the Sea of Galilee

Those who have followed this blog for any length of time have probably seen several of my sunrise photos on the Sea of Galilee. We often stay at the Ron Beach Hotel which is situated on the west shore of the Sea on the north side of Tiberias. Sometimes I have been able to capture some great shots from my room. Yesterday, however, was one of those days when the was hidden from us by low, heavy clouds.

This morning there were low clouds on the eastern horizon. The sun only occasionally peeked through, but this did not affect the reflection of the sun on the clouds above.

When I realized what was happening I moved my camera to place the sun on the left side of my image in order to show the beautiful sky and clouds. I thought you might enjoy seeing this different sort of image.

Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee, March 25, 2018. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee, March 25, 2018. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins. Click on the image for a larger image.

Tonight Leon Mauldin and I are on the Dead Sea at Ein Bokek.

The Sea of Galilee played a prominent role in the ministry of Jesus. Take this example, for example:

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. (Matthew 4:17-22 ESV)

What do you know about Tisha B’Av?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017, many of the Jewish people recently will observe Tisha B’Av. This phrase, strange to Christians, means the Fast of the Ninth. The observance “is a day of mourning to commemorate the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people” (Judaism 101). According to this source, five terrible events took place on or near the ninth day of the month Av, the fifth month of the Jewish calendar.

The most significant of these events are the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. (2 Kings 25:8-9; Jeremiah 52:12-13), and the destruction by the Romans in A.D. 70.

In the past half century a considerable amount of evidence has come to light concerning the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. The temple destroyed in 586 B.C. had been constructed by King Solomon in about 966 B.C. It was rebuilt by those who returned from the Babylonian Exile (530-516 B.C.).

In the previous post we published the Israel Antiquities Authority release about additional evidence of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem found in the City of David. Take a look at the additional photos there.

The structure in which shattered jugs were found, attesting to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Picture: Eliyahu Yanai, Courtesy of the City of David Archive.

The structure in which shattered jugs were found, attesting to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. The darker area near the center of the photo shows the burn level when the city was destroyed. Picture: Eliyahu Yanai, Courtesy of the City of David Archive.

Herod the Great began about 19/20 B.C. to rebuild the temple. This work was still in progress during the ministry of Jesus.

Then the Jewish leaders said to him, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and are you going to raise it up in three days?” (John 2:20 NET)

Christians take seriously the prophecy of Jesus.

Now as Jesus was going out of the temple courts and walking away, his disciples came to show him the temple buildings. And he said to them, “Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone will be left on another. All will be torn down!” (Matthew 24:1-2 NET)

There is no archaeological evidence of the temple building itself. The site where the temple once stood is now covered with paving stones and the Dome of the Rock which was constructed by the followers of Mohamed in the 7th century A.D.

The Dome of the Rock stands where Solomon’s Temple was built. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Dome of the Rock stands where Solomon’s Temple was built. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Vivid evidence of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem was discovered at the SW corner of the temple area in the Tyropean Valley. Some of the rubble can still be seen on the street which was probably built by Agrippa II in the 60s of the first century.

Stones that fell, or were pushed, from the Temple Mount to the street below in A.D. 70 at the time of the destruction by the Romans. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Stones that fell, or were pushed, from the Temple Mount to the street below in A.D. 70 at the time of the destruction by the Romans. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Wayne Stiles recently wrote an article here on this topic with several excellent photos from the Burnt House in Jerusalem, a house burned during the Roman destruction in A.D. 70.