Sunday, May 19, 2013

Holy Land Tour, Part Three: Dangerous Gospel

Signs like the one above warning of "Danger of Death" are on power poles all over Nazareth.
This sign at the peak of Mount of Precipice says that Jesus jumped to flee pursuers when Luke 4 tells us that he actually just walked through the midst of his attackers just before they threw him over the edge.
Yesterday we visited Caesarea by the sea, Tel Megiddo, Zippori, the Church of the Annunciation, and Mount of Precipice. In the course of our travels we went to Jesus' hometown of Nazareth twice. Today's tidbit is based on a couple of things I found interesting and enlightening in and around Nazareth.

Power poles up and down the streets of Jesus' hometown have signs on them like the one in the photo above advertising "Danger of Death." I've seen signs like this in other towns here but, perhaps because we spent more time in Nazareth, they seemed particularly prominent there. Those Nazarene signs took on a new significance for me after our second visit to the city at our last stop of the day.

Not long before sunset our tour bus lumbered up a steep incline at the edge of Jesus' hometown. We were entering a park surrounding the Mount of Precipice, the traditional site from which enraged worshipers from the synagogue nearly threw Jesus off a cliff. The sign at the peak (second photo above) says that Jesus jumped to escape his pursuers but the account from Luke 4 tells that rather than leaping he simply walked through the midst of his attackers.
Dr. Cameron Jorgenson reads the account in Luke  4 in which the worshipers from Nazareth nearly threw Jesus from a cliff.

At the peak our group sat down and listened as Dr. Cameron Jorgenson read the passage describing a seriously bad day for Jesus.. The people of his hometown violently rejected his revolution of grace. Before he prayed, Dr. Jorgenson mentioned that Jesus preached a "dangerous gospel."

Sitting there on Mount of Precipice I was impressed with the severity of the danger inspired by Jesus' message of grace that day in the synagogue. We don't know for sure that it was that exact cliff from which Jesus was nearly pitched but it had to be somewhere close to that spot. As you can see on the sign above, it's 397 meters to the bottom of that cliff--more than 1,300 feet. I noticed numerous other high ridges around Nazareth plenty tall enough to cause death if one were to be thrown off the edge. Look how small the features are in the valley behind Dr. Jorgenson in the photo above.

Jesus definitely faced danger of death due to his dangerous gospel even in his hometown.

There at or close to a spot at which Jesus faced grave danger because of his message, Dr. Jorgenson closed with a word of prayer in which he requested that we might be bold to proclaim Jesus' dangerous gospel. It is a charge to which all Christ-followers are called, even if we face danger of death.

(Note: Our schedule and Internet problems at the hotel prevented me from posting this yesterday. Tonight we pack and tomorrow we head for another hotel in Jerusalem. I don't know what it any Internet access I'll have there.)

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