Summary: It was just a day at the beach but it was also the beginning of Christianity, when Jesus went from being simply a teacher to the leader and founder of a movement.
A Day at the Beach: the Beginning
This time of year it’s easy for our minds to drift to warmer climes and the beach. If you close your eyes you can almost envision the turquoise water, the white sand and a palm tree that you can lean back on. I love being close to the water. Maybe it’s the fact that my family all came from a small island and that is where I spent a part of almost every summer growing up, never far from water. When we lived in Australia we weren’t far from the shore and as often as we could we headed for the beach. Angela loves her kayak, but for me I’m usually content to sit by the water and read and listen to the sound of the waves. Whenever I travel overseas I try to find a beach at some point, even if it’s just to take a walk and smell the salt in the air. The other day I realized that I have walked on beaches in more than a dozen countries in five continents. For some of you there is a beach in your near future, as you head south for a week or two to escape winter. For other’s it’s a little further away and will happen come summer at Dollar lake and Grand lake and Kearney Lake and Shediac or Cavendish.
So for the next few weeks we invite you to join us at the Beach.
As you read through the Jesus story you discover how much of it happened around the water and on the water. If we pull up one of our trusty maps we discover that much of Jesus’ ministry was focused on this area here. What we often refer to as the “Sea of Galilee” but it wasn’t really a sea, it was just a lake. But it was their lake. It didn’t matter if you referred to it as the Sea of Galilee, or the Lake of Galilee or one of the several other names it has gone by through the centuries it was a focal point for the people who lived in that area. There are only 3 lakes in Israel. 3, compare that with Canada that has over three million lakes, Canada has 60% of the lakes in the world. But Israel only has 3 lakes, the largest is the Dead Sea and it’s a salt lake so there is no commercial value to it. Then there is Hula Lake which is only 10 foot deep and then there is Galilee which is 20 km long and 13 km wide and 43 metres deep. To put that in perspective it is 9 times larger than Grand Lake but you could put five Galilees in Bras d'Or Lake.
The Jewish Historian Josephus, who was born around the time of Christ’s death, claimed that there were 9 good size communities surrounding the lake and over 230 fishing boats worked the waters in his day. Compare that with today, Tiberias is the only city left.
But back to our story. If you’ve been reading the gospels, Jesus has been born, has been baptized by John the Baptist and been tempted in the wilderness. But his ministry hasn’t really begun, there have been no records of miracles, the crowds aren’t flocking to hear his words he hasn’t started upsetting the religious leaders of the day. After all, up until now he has just been a solitary voice attracting very little attention with his teaching. And this incident is pivotal in the history of what would become the Christian church, which would eventually change the world. And it all started one day at the beach.