Today was a day of transition for us. Having spent the last couple of days at the Sea of Galilee, it was now time for us to make our way back to Jerusalem. So we packed our bags and set out to make the journey back south. Before we left the northern region of Israel, there was one more place we had to visit, Caesarea Philippi.
This is the place where Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” After getting a number of replies, Jesus asks, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter replies, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus then says to Peter, “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.” He then gives Peter the keys to the Kingdom. Catholics believe that here Jesus established the office of the papacy. I’ll let you do your homework as to all that that entails. One wonders why Jesus chose Caesarea Philippi for this occasion.
First, as you can see from the photo, this is a place of rock. At the time of Christ, there was a temple built to the god Pan right up against this giant rock formation. The next picture shows what this probably looked in the time that Jesus brought the disciples here and conferred the keys to Peter.
This picture is on the site. So what Jesus was saying was kind of like this: The pagans have built their church on on this big rock here at Caesarea Philippi. But you are Peter (which means “Rock”) and upon this rock I will build my Church. So while this big pagan church will someday crumble and fall, even the gates of hell shall never prevail against my Church.
It really takes on a whole new meaning when you see where this happened. The temple was actually built right in front of the mouth of a large cave where people would sacrifice goats and throw them into the water in the cave. I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to have a picture with The Catholic Guy at the mouth of this cave. (No, I didn’t throw him in the cave.)
Finally, this site is part of the headwaters of the Jordan River. It always amazes me that rivers start out so small and become something so great. But I believe that is what God desires for us. We start out so small, but He wants us to become something so great. Let’s keep learning and growing and become all that God desire us to become!
We spent the rest of the day making the long drive back to Jerusalem. I’ll check in from there next! May God bless and keep you on your journey!