The Rock

Today was Day 4 of our Holy Land trip and we explored Jesus’ Ministry around the Sea of Galilee. We visited the Mount of Beatitudes, walked down to Tabgha and stood on the same sand at the Church of the Primacy of Peter where the disciples recognized Jesus after the resurrection, instructing them in fishing and cooking breakfast for them (John 21).

In the afternoon, we visited Capernaum, the home of Peter where many healing miracles occurred: the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law (Mk 1:29-31), the paralytic let down through the roof (Mk 2:1-12), healing of Jairus’s daughter (Mk 5:22-24, 35-42), and of the woman with a hemorrhage (Mk 5:25-34). We visited an excavation site of an ancient synagogue with a later era Roman church built on top. The black stones at the base of the south-eastern corner point to an older building that was probably a first century synagogue where Jesus’ would have preached. Although Capernaum is referred to as Jesus’ home (Mt 9:1), he later condemns Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida as unrepentant cities that have little faith (Lk 10:13-15).

Peter was the leader and spokesman for the 12 disciples and often posed questions to Jesus representing the concerns of the others. Peter and his brother Andrew came from Bethsaida and were associated with John the Baptist before becoming disciples of Jesus.

The importance of Peter as the leader of the disciples was visually represented by a large rock in the Church of the Primacy of Peter. Today’s photo is from the small chapel. Mensa Christi means “Christ’s Table.

As I entered the chapel today, only a handful of people had knelt and were praying. I took a space on the front row to also pray and then took pictures of the beautiful image of Peter as “the Rock” (Matthew 16). In only a few minutes time, a rush of people entered the chapel, all clamoring to pray and to be inspired by Peter’s faith. In moments, the entire chapel was filled!

We were then challenged by our host: How solid is my faith? When others see me lead my life, is it obvious to everyone that I also depend on God for everything as my foundation in life? Do others what to identify with God because of the strength of the foundation of my faith?