Michael Schroeder Holy Land Trip Blog April 09

Thanks for joining me on the trip.......if you enjoyed the trip blog or want occasional updates on my music ministry, be sure to click here to join my E-Newsletter that keeps you informed a few times a year of things like this Holy Land trip blog, New CD's or concerts in your area. The info is never shared and you can unsubscribe any time.




April 29th

I flew from Cairo,Egypt to Amman,Jordan yesterday and crashed for a long sleep before today's 13 hour flight brought me safely home.

Though I can't find the words to tell you what it's like to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, you already know that you don't have to travel to Galilee or Jerusalem to find God. David says it well in Psalm 139 that God is everywhere. There is no where we can hide from him and that He knows us better than we do ourselves. Jesus tells us at the end of Matthew that He is with us always even to the very end of the world.

To have a relationship with God is as easy as the people we have a relationship with here on earth. We have a relationship with our friends and loved ones because we talk, listen and spend time together. To have a real relationship with God is the very same thing, if we talk to God through prayer, and listen to Him through His living Word in the Bible.

God gives us a free will to spend the time He gave us the way we choose, whether it's apart from Him or not. But to be without Him is to be lost,... while to know Him,.. is to find out who you are.

The more you seek Him, the more you will find Him.

Peace in Jesus

Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

Ask, Seek, Knock

       7"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened



April 27th

A morning drive in past the Egyptian fields.....

....Today was spent for the most part in the old inner city of Cairo, checking out historical and traditional sites I'm still looking into........

.....The Egyptian Museum


.....a walk through the bazaar a open street market.....


and capping the day off with a evening cruise on the Nile.

I leave Egypt for Jordan tomorrow before heading home to the States as the trip nears its end. MS


April 26th

Traffic in Cairo is thick often since it is a city of 18 million people. No one follows the street lanes commonly crossing to any part of the pavement to get where they want to go. This every man for himself driving reminds me of the view of the roundabout in Paris from the top of the Arc de Triumph except more congested. The streets on certain sections of town often have water buffalos, donkeys and carts etc sharing or crossing the streets with their imported foreign cars. The Nile is the life blood here in this part of the Sahara desert. The Christian population here is about 10%.

Our day starts with a drive to the city of Memphis in Egypt which was the capital of the county in the time of Moses. See Exodus.

A Museum in Memphis with Stonework depicting Ramses II.


Leaving Memphis for the Saqqara Pyramids (known as the Step Pyramids)
I get the chance to go into a pyramid through the narrow shaft bending over crawling through for 50 feet or so before the pyramid tunnel opens up into a room filled with Hyroglyphics with another room for the Sarcophagus. We were not allowed to take pictures inside pyramids.


Next stop is back to Cairo and the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx . We did a devotion here in worship to the one true God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph at a place known for the pagan Gods of ancient Egyptians who based their Gods on what they didn't understand, feared, or liked.






In Christ


April 25th

I left about 4:30am for the Egyptian border from Jerusalem which was made about 4 hours later crossing over at Taba, Egypt. the idea was to make it to St. Catherine's a Monastery further south in Egypt at Mt. Sinai, also called Mount Horeb the traditional site of Moses burning bush (Exodus 3:1-10). But found we could not make it in time before it closed that day and so we altered our course west towards Cairo across the Sinai desert after crossing the border at Taba Egypt.

Taba, Egypt
After crossing the border in Egypt we were greeted by several camels who joined our traffic.



The Red Sea
With the Red Sea to our east meant viewing Jordan directly across the water and Saudi Arabia can be seen a little further south down the shoreline. One can see several different countries all at once from this location as Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia all come in close proximity to each other.
You may remember the Red Sea as the one Moses by the power of God parted during the Exodus from Egypt.
See Exodus 14:5-31


The Sinai Desert
The Sinai Desert offers several different desert landscapes but all desert none the less.
Exodus is the second book of the Old Testament. It tells how Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness to the Mountain of Sinai. There God, through Moses, gives the people the Ten Commandments. Exodus 34:27-28
The picture below is from the Sinai desert at what would be the Mt's of Edom from the time of Moses.


As we travel across the Sinai Desert towards Egypt our bus breaks down for a time and so while the driver and mechanic do their best to get it going again, we do a devotion in the desert. An hour later we are back up and running and heading towards the Suez Canal and Cairo.

Suez Canal
Reaching the other side of the Sinai desert and Peninsula brings us to the Suez Canal, which is a waterway in Egypt that joins the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. I could see the tops of ships going through the canal as the bus entered the tunnel that goes under the Suez Canal leaving the Continent of Asia for the Continent of Africa on the other side.



Finally making Cairo after a long ride and crossing the Nile River pictured below on the way to the other side of the city for supper and a good nights rest. MS


The Currency in Egypt is the Egyptian Pound picturing a 20pound, 1pound and 1/2 pound note below
the rate of exchange to U.S. Dollar is about 5 to 1 meaning $4 U.S Dollars is worth about a a 20 Pound Egyptian Note.

Off to bed for some rest before the Pyramids Tomorrow,


April 24th

Today is my last day in Jerusalem before leaving for Egypt very early tomorrow morning. I am sad to leave Jerusalem and Israel for reasons I can explain in part, but would fail to be able to put into words otherwise.

My next update will be dependant on internet access in Egypt so keep checking back and I'll do the best I can.

leave by bus tomorrow morning about 4:30 am from Jerusalem with a 4 hour drive to the border of Israel and Egypt before crossing over.

I've been writing a completely new worship song here in Jerusalem the past few days that I am very happy with, and will record it once I arrive back home. I'm very happy with the song's potential for worship and am feeling the Joy from working on all of the songs for the project in this deeply spiritual place.

I started today in the City of David with a visit to Hezekiah's tunnels and the pool of Siloam.

Hezekiah's Tunnel
From Warren's Shaft, and down to the Gihon Spring at the bottom of the Kidron Valley for a walk through Hezekiah's Tunnel.

The account of the construction of Hezekiah's water tunnel under Jerusalem by King Hezekiah shortly before the city was besieged by Sennacherib in about 701 BC is described in 2 Kings 20:20 and 2 Chronicles 32:2-4, 30. Archaeologists discovered the tunnel in the 19th century. It is a third of a mile long, mostly less than three feet wide, and, in a few places, less than five feet in height. It winds under the "City of David" from the Gihon Spring, an important site in Old Testament Jerusalem, to the Pool of Siloam, an important New Testament period site.There are two tunnels, one with water and one dry. They feed into the Pool of Siloam a place were Jesus healed a blind man. See below.



The Pool of Siloam
Also referred to in Nehemiah 3:15 The water from Hezekiah Tunnel fed into the
Pool of Siloam where Jesus walked and healed a man who was blind from birth (see John 9:1-12)



Southern Temple Steps
This was a very moving place for me,.....there are sites where tradition holds and often for very good reason for it's Biblical probability due to the available evidence, site history and tradition,...and then there are sites where there is no doubt that Jesus was at a location. This is one of those locations where we know for sure that Jesus walked according to historical and Biblical accounts. These steps below are the southern steps leading up to the Temple. They are on the southeastern end of the wall leading up to the Temple. Going UP to the temple was a requirement and so each temple built has a entrance designed regardless of location so that you would walk steps Up to the Temple. This is that location for the Temple here in Jerusalem. There are two steps one for entering, another for returning. There are a number of accounts of Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem. Matthew 21:11-13 & Matthew 24:1-2 are just a couple, and so He would have had to walk these very steps to go into the temple each time. Some of the steps are restored, some are not and are the same as from the first century time of Jesus. To be in the footsteps of Jesus is something moving beyond what words can express for me. I could have stayed here all day, and I look forward to my return.


Southern End of the Western Wall

Western end of Southern Wall


As I was working on songs tonight from my balcony overlooking Jerusalem, I was treated to a spectacular Sunset over the city from the greatest Creator of all. So I grabbed my camera briefly to take the shot below. I am sad to leave the city and country and wish I could stay longer for more time, for all things in the Word, worship, learning and writing, but the schedule calls and on to Egypt I go. But God willing, I will return.


Safe Travels. I'll see you in Egypt
God be with you


April 23rd

I have been traveling with groups from Pastor Unke's and Pastor Schultz churches and what a pleasure and blessing it has been for me to be with them all. They have made a great trip even better!

Pools of Bethesda
Another early morning start after breakfast finds me at the pools of Bethesda where Jesus healed the invalid. (see John 5:1-15) This is a place where Jesus was with certainty.


The Dome of the Rock

The Dome of the Rock is located at the visual center of the Temple Mount or Mount Moriah, this rock, this place of Abraham sacrificing Isaac; David creating his city and Solomon's temple. The area, greatly enlarged under the rule of Herod, is the site of the second Jewish Temple which was destroyed during the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE.




The picture below is from a level about 12 feet down from the current street level near and under the Via Dolorosa. As time periods come and go,...cities often build on top of the past leaving the evidence of previous periods of time below. This street is from the time of Jesus in the first century......and you can see that the sidewalk portion is the flat section in the foreground, while the waves cut into the background part of this 1st century pavement is for the horses to have good footing.




Via Doloroso
A couple of pictures below from the Via Doloroso which is the traditional path Jesus carried his cross to Golgotha to pay for our sins So that by faith through grace in Him we would be saved ( See John 3:16-18 )

ddddqq weflcod


Holy Sepulcher
Below are pictures for the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Church was built over the traditional site of Golgatha where Jesus was crucified for our sins. The Church is Greek Orthodox.

ajdg zxvbnrt

2we2d qwd44




The Garden Tomb Area

The Crucifixion
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. (17) Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha) John 19:17

Skull cave


The Garden Tomb

A Typical Rolling Stone from the period, though the rolling stone that would have fit the channel at
the base to the above tomb would have been larger.


The Empty Tomb




He has risen indeed !




April 22nd

I am heading out of Jerusalem this morning on my way to the Dead Sea as we travel past Bethany where Lazarus was raised from the dead by Jesus after being dead 4 days. (see John 11:1-48 ) leaving the outskirts of the city for the country side past the goats and sheep herders, Bedouin (nomad) camps, past Jericho and eventually through the check point leaving the west bank into the area of the Dead Sea . 1st stop will be at;

En Gedi

En Gedi is a Lush Oasis in the Judean desert close to the western shore of the Dead Seas. It is here where David likely wrote some of the Psalms and where David hid from Saul and also spared Saul's life. ( see 1 Samuel 24.)

dslvm sdkfsdk





Moving along the coast of the Dead Sea, rising more than 1400 feet above the western shore of the Dead Sea is the fortress of Masada. Originally built built by Herod in the first century B.C, the dramatic story of Masada can be found here.

wefv sdvsd




A little up the coast brings me to Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947 by a young Bedouin shepherd boy. They include copies of all the old testament books except Esther. The previous oldest copy of the old testament Bible dated back around 800 years. The Dead Sea Scrolls date back about 2000 years and the interesting thing is that not only did they match our later copies of the Bible, they were exact copies of the Old Testament Bible, even though they were from 2000 years ago. Pictured below is Cave number 4 where Scrolls were found.


Copy of one of the Dead Seas Scrolls in Jerusalem

The Dead Sea

After a couple of walks at Masada and En Gedi and lunch I am down at the Dead Sea shoreline itself.
A normal ocean is made up of about 2.9% salt. The Dead Sea, the lowest spot on earth, is 36% salt!
It is renowned for the mineral contents found in it for many skin care and beauty products. The Dead Sea Mud is also sought out for skin care. Not only will you see many people covered in mud at the sea getting their mud treatment for free before washing off......you will see that no one is swimming but really just floating,......the high salt content makes everyone float. I could simply lay back in the water stick both my hands and feet into the air completely out of the water and still float easily without sinking. You could not sink if you wanted to.
adsv jj



The currency in Israel by the way is Shekels,....and the exchange at this time is about 4 Shekels to 1 U.S. Dollar.
Below in order is 20 Shekels, 10 and 1/2 Shekel


I experienced Technical difficulties for awhile yesterday trying to update the blog before getting it fixed hours later,....and I will also be leaving Israel on Saturday morning very early for Egypt.....so if for any reason you don't see a update one day, it just means it will take me a bit before I find internet on the road to upload the update.
Thanks and may Grace and Peace be yours in Jesus


April 21st

Today started with a walk down from the Mount of Olives mentioned numerous times in both old and new testament including His ascension to heaven in Acts.1:8-12 and I walk part of the same road Jesus and the crowds traveled on Palm Sunday when he entered the City of Jerusalem, (see Matthew 21:1-11) but I did not go the whole way as I went from higher up on the Mount of Olives to the base entering the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed.

Mount of Olives



( See Matthew 26:30-46)


The traditional site of the Upper Room


David's Tomb


The Birth in Bethlehem of Jesus Christ (See Matthew 1:18-24 & Luke 2:1-20 )

Bethlehem is controlled by the Palestinian authority within the county of Israel. So one must go through Palestinian check points and be ready with your passport. The city reflects its more decidedly palestinian feel in places and within the last decade the amount of Christians within the city have fallen to just 2%. The pictures below, depict a flavor of the streets and people and the birthplace of Jesus which took place in a cave. The church of the Nativity built above the site has a Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic sections of the church built over the location of the birth of the Son of God Jesus, who came to save us from our sins.

eod askscsdvwrsl c

Jesus Birthplace location in the cave beneath the church of the Nativity

The Church of the Nativity


After viewing the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem, I arrived back in Jerusalem for a stop at the Western Wall and to tour the tunnels below.



Tomorrow I head for the Dead Sea, Massada, Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls) and more
Peace in Jesus



April 20th

The day starts with leaving the Galilee heading south and west at times for stops in Nazareth, Caesarea, and Jerusalem by nightfall.


Passing through the markets up the street in Nazareth take me to the church of the Annunciation said to be the place where Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce that she would be the Savior's mother. See Luke 1:26-38 .


Nearby a morning highlight (not pictured) was going to the site of the 1st century Synagogue in Nazareth that Jesus would have attended as a boy and returned to during his public ministry to deliver a sermon reading from the Prophet Isaiah fulfilling the very prophecy. See Luke 4:18-21.
To be able to sing in this place was a very moving experience.



A little further down the road is the city of Kafr Kana that sites on the ancient city of Cana the city where Jesus performed His first miracle of turning the water into wine. See John 2:1-11 Both the Greek Orthodox and Franciscans have churches marking the miracle.


Passing near Mount Tabor stated as the site for Jesus Transfiguration I stop at Megiddo which overlooks the valley of Jezreel . Throughout history many armies did battle here, and was in different periods, controlled by the Egyptians, Ahab and later Solomon to name a few. According to the book of Revelation the kings of the earth will gather here in this valley for the final battle between good and evil at Armageddon. Rev16:12-16.
dkl dlsll

Mount Carmel
I visited the site of Mount Carmel also on the Jezreel Valley and the site of Elijahs contest. See 1 Kings 18:16-40 for the winner of Elijah's contest of who the true God is.


Leaving this area behind and heading due west to the sea, offers a ride with a view along the Mediterranean Sea south on my way to Caesarea. Beautiful is all I can say.

dl e


Not to be confused with the lesser known Caesarea Philipi I visited in the north,.. this city, the more well known Caesarea was built by Herod in the first century at this beautiful location on the Mediterranean Sea. He named it in honor of the Roman emperor Augustus. The city included a Theatre, Amphitheater, that is used today for theatre and concerts.

A Hippodrome,(Chariot racing oval),

And also temple, market areas, homes and public buildings. a couple of special findings are a inscription referring to Pontius Pilate as governor of Judea, and also the Cistern used as a jail to hold Paul for about 2 years before he was sent to Rome to stand trial. The city is mentioned often in Acts. Here are a couple
(See Acts 8:40, Acts 23:23-33.)
I had a chance to sing in the Theatre here at Caesarea and the interesting thing about the way these theatres were built acoustically were so that whether on stage or in the seats people talking soft or normal can be heard clearly on the other side of the Theatre because of the acoustic design.

A short distance a way are the Roman aqueducts built to bring water to the city along the sea, next to the Caesarea beaches.
sladl dkww n


I arrived in Jerusalem around supper time for a view of the City before checking into my room for the night. Tomorrow will be spent part in Jerusalem and part of the day in Bethlehem. MS





April 19th

The day started early with a Sunrise service on the shores of the Sea of Galilee......5:30 came early,....but the sunrise and the worship at this place was the best way to start the day!


Breakfast and a longer ride to the far north of Israel takes me to Tel Dan a stones throw from Lebanon.

Tel Dan: Following the division of the kingdom of Solomon in 930BC, Jeroboam, Son of Nebat established a cult at Dan as an alternative to the Temple in Jerusalem and placed a Golden Calf in the city. Dan, was the northernmost city in the kingdom of Israel, which the book of Judges states was known as the city of Laish prior to its conquest by the Tribe of Dan. Due to its location close to the border with Lebanon Tel Dan has had a long and often bitterly contested modern history, most recently during the 1967 Six day war. (see Ruth 4:1-2, 2nd Samuel 19:8 for Biblical references to Dan)


The 2nd picture above right is a small city inside Lebanon. I took this picture from the top of Tel Dan, Israel which is a few hundred yards from the Israel/Lebanon Border,...we later drove along the border for a bit on our way to Har Bental taking the road to Damascus (that Paul traveled) to get there.


The excavators of Tel Dan uncovered a city gate further below made of mud bricks estimated to have been built around 1750 B.C. Because this is the period of the Biblical patriarchs, because this is the style of gate that Abraham would have sat in, and because of the Bible account in which the people of Dan take Lot prisoner, and Abraham travels to Dan to rescue him, the gate is called Abraham's Gate.



Har Bental is a vantage Point that allows a person to better understand history and the proximity of the Golan Heights to Syria a short distance a way. I took the picture (below left) of Damascus Syria about 33 miles a way to the north from this location in Israel, and the picture (below right) shows the Golan Heights, Israel to the south facing the other direction from the same spot.
The Golan Heights are of strategic importance in the region. Israel captured the region in June 1967 during the Six day war. Since then, the area has remained under Israeli control.

The picture below is of Mount Her mon facing west from the same location (Psalm 133:3, )



Caesarea Philippi
Traveling south to about 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee brings me to Caesarea Philippi which is located near the base of Mount Hermon and is mentioned in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and also a number of times in Acts.

Fig Tree


Bethsaida of Galilee

Peter, Philip and Andrew lived here, (John 1:44; John 12:21), and possibly James and John as well. Though slightly west of the traditional site it is believed by most experts to have been the site of the feeding of the 5000 found in Gospels.


Heading back to the room after Bethsaida, I grab supper and put together a set list of songs for a concert I'm doing on my last night here in Galilee. Tomorrow I head to Nazareth and other places further south in Israel arriving in Jerusalem tomorrow night. Though I know there is more amazing things to see and do.....I will miss this place......there is a peace here that satisfies the soul in a deep way. I am tired though and heading to bed, a good nights rest will ready me for my tomorrow.

Peace in Jesus



April 18th
Morning comes and keeps me moving to catch breakfast and gather my things in time to catch the bus to the North side of the sea of Galilee.  Let me just say before I continue that my camera and this photographer don’t even come close to doing justice to what it is actually like to view these locations.  More importantly, and I say this with my deepest sincerity,……my words can not do justice to what is here. The meaning, the evidence, the reality of the life of Jesus is every where here…….not in stories …..but in reality,…..where He stayed,….performed miracles….and did much of his ministry. My heart is tender and I am already moved beyond what words express of what I had already known,…..of what I have seen,……and by grace through faith,…. will come to see in my relationship with a God who more than loves,….but IS love as it says in His Word.
traveling north along the west bank of the Sea of Galilee I stop in Tiberius to hop a boat ride that takes me further north on this Sea of Galilee. The Sea that Jesus calmed the winds and storm and walked on water.
See Matthew 14:22-36



The boat ride ends as we dock on the north shores of the Sea of Galilee, an area rich in so much history found in the Bible and other historical writings. It was these shores where Jesus called some of his disciples, where you find the Mount of Beatitudes, and Capernaum where Jesus stayed after leaving Nazareth and performed miracles. The place of the feeding of the 5000 is nearby, with Chorazin and more all here on the north shores of Galilee.

Jesus made Capernaum his home during the years of his ministry: "Leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum" (Matt 4:13). Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishermen living in the village.  Matthew the tax collector also lived here. Capernaum is one of the three cities later cursed by Jesus for its lack of faith. 
The Synagogue
Jesus was confronted by a demoniac while teaching here (Mark 1:21-27).
In Capernaum, Jesus healed the servant of the centurion.  This Roman official was credited with building the synagogue (Luke 7:3).
In this synagogue, Jesus gave sermon on the bread of life (John 6:35-59).

The Synagogue pictured below is of a later date with the one of Jesus time discovered beneath it. Jewish Law carries that the only thing that could be built on the land of a synagogue when it has run it’s course is another Synagogue often placing the layers of time and history on top of each other. 


The House of Peter
The Picture below shows part of the house of Peter in Capernaum. It is roped off of course to protect the site, but I accidentally dropped my camera over the walls edge and had to enter the area of Peters house to retrieve my camera. The joke now is how many other Holy sites do I have to throw my camera into just to get inside the site itself!
Capernaum House of Peter


1st Century Galilee Fishing Boat found on the north end of Galilee near the towns of Capernaum




The Ruins of Korazin
Chorazin synagogue interior Korazin Synagogue
This “Seat of Moses” as they were called had a purpose in synagogues as the seat for the most distinguished teacher in the temple for example. Jesus references this position of authority in Matthew. Because the town of Korazin was of close walking distance to Capernaum, and Jesus authority was recognized as he taught in a number of synagogues ( remembering this was a man who drew 5000 people not counting women and children, at the feeding of the 5000,) it is a good possibility He was at this Synagogue and used this seat of Moses here.

Korazin (Chorazin), along with Bethsadia and Capernaum, were named in the New Testament Gospels of Matthew and Luke as "cities" in which Jesus performed "mighty works". However, because these towns rejected his work ("they had not changed their ways" -Matt11:20), they were subsequently cursed ( Luke 10:13-15). And archaeologists have said all three cities were destroyed at the same exact moment from their findings. And though many other destroyed cities in history have been rebuilt again at a later time, none of these three cities cursed by Jesus have ever been rebuilt as all three lie in ruins.


Mount of Beatitudes
The sermon on the mount was given by Jesus at a place below this church……though it may seem long for you…..I put His words from this location below here,…..because the power of these words Jesus spoke more than changed the world, but are eternal. And when we apply them to our lives we find no greater wisdom, peace and love than through the Spirit of His living Word. To be able to sing here was very special.
Church of the Beatitudes

Jesus Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5

The Beatitudes

 1Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:
 3"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 4Blessed are those who mourn,
      for they will be comforted.
 5Blessed are the meek,
      for they will inherit the earth.
 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
      for they will be filled.
 7Blessed are the merciful,
      for they will be shown mercy.
 8Blessed are the pure in heart,
      for they will see God.
 9Blessed are the peacemakers,
      for they will be called sons of God.
 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

 13"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
 14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

The Fulfillment of the Law

 17"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.


 21"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[b]will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,[c]' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.
 23"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
 25"Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.[d]


 27"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'[e] 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.


 31"It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.'[f] 32But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.


 33"Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' 34But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

An Eye for an Eye

 38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[g] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Love for Enemies

 43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 6

Giving to the Needy

 1"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
 2"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.


 5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
 9"This, then, is how you should pray:
   " 'Our Father in heaven,
   hallowed be your name,
 10your kingdom come,
   your will be done
      on earth as it is in heaven.
 11Give us today our daily bread.
 12Forgive us our debts,
      as we also have forgiven our debtors.
 13And lead us not into temptation,
   but deliver us from the evil one.[j]' 14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.


 16"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Treasures in Heaven

 19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
 22"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
 24"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Do Not Worry

 25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[k]?
 28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 7

Judging Others

 1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
 3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
 6"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

Ask, Seek, Knock

 7"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
 9"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

The Narrow and Wide Gates

 13"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

A Tree and Its Fruit

 15"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
 21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

The Wise and Foolish Builders

 24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
 28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.


After a concert overlooking all of these sites from the Cliffs of Arbel on the Sea of Galilee I return to my beach house for two more nights on the south end of the Sea of Galilee.
6 See ya Tomorrow!  Michael



April 17th

Mt. Nebo

My time clock is still off with only 4 hours sleep but will go on adrenaline one more day before crashing tonight…….leaving Amman early after breakfast takes me to Mount Nebo, Jordan. The view from the top of Mount Nebo’s overlooks the Dead Sea, the Jordan River Valley, Jericho and the distant hills of Jerusalem. From here, Moses viewed the promised Holy Land he would never enter. He died and was buried in this area though his tomb remains unknown.
Mount Nebo became a place of pilgrimage for early Christians from Jerusalem and a small church was built there in the 4th century to commemorate the end of Moses' life. Some  stones from that church remain in their original place. The church was expanded in the 5th and 6th centuries with a stunning collection of Byzantine mosaics.
The serpentine Cross, which stands just outside, is symbolic of the bronze serpent taken by Moses into the desert and the cross upon which Jesus was crucified for our sins.

gh Mount Nebo


Bethany Beyond The Jordan
Leaving Mt. Nebo and traveling west making our way past nomads, camels and desert to the place called "Bethany Beyond the Jordan". This area along the eastern Shoreline of the Jordan river is referred to in the old testament as the plains of Moab. It is just a few miles north of the Dead Sea and within sight of the ancient city of Jericho. This area is identified as the setting where John the Baptist ministered and baptized in the early days of his ministry. (John 1:28; & 10:40) . It is therefore likely that Jesus was baptized here. At that time the Holy Spirit descended like a dove, and God audibly affirmed His Son. The foundation of many churches built on top of each other over time at this site date back within the first few centuries.

gt        hy


"Beth-Shean" (Scythopolis)
The Jordan River at this point is the boundary between Israel and Jordan. Crossing over into Israel and going through customs takes longer than I had hoped, but I'm through none the less and moving north along the Jordan river valley passing mount Gilboa, I grab a schnitzel before a stop nearby at Beth-shean tracing the history of Saul and his sons who were killed in battle with the Philistines at Mount Gilboa. Their bodies were carried and placed as trophies in Beth-shean on the city wall. The Israelites finally conquered the city during the reign of King Solomon.
        During the Roman and Byzantine periods then called Scythopolis, the city had grown and boasted a 10,000 seat amphitheater, a colonnaded through fare, large public baths and extensive buildings. The grand city estimated to have once have 80,000 people was destroyed by an earthquake in 749AD with dozens of massive columns toppled in the same direction. Archeologists have identified at least 18 levels of occupation over time.


Leaving Beth-shean behind and driving only a little further north gets me to my destination and room for the night for the next few days. A room with a view that sits on the south end of the Sea of Galilee. Dinner and a Maccabee beer await me after my walk along the shore of this tremendously beautiful place. Sleep and another day of adventure are not far behind. MS



April 16th
A 12 hour flight on Royal Jordanian Air from Chicago U.S. to Amman Jordan leaves me with a time clock that is a little out of sync but with enough adrenaline to make up the difference for the time being. Amman Jordan’s time zone is 8 hours ahead of where I came from, and adding the 12 hour flight turned my 9:30pm April15th departure into arriving about 5:30pm on April 16th the next day. The Kingdom of Jordan is bordered on the north by Syria, on the east by Iraq, on the south by Saudi Arabia and on the west by Israel and the Dead Sea. Amman is the largest city and capital of Jordan, home to more than 2 million people. More than 92% of the population are Sunni Muslims. Like in Syria, Arabic is the official language for a population that is more than 98% Arab. I was awake to hear the Muslim call to prayer from the loudspeakers of this Mosque outside my hotel room at 4 & 5 am below.