The Land Jesus Knew, Part 3


The Ensign continues with Part 3 of a five-part series featuring paintings and photographs of sites and events associated with the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. This month we focus on his ministry following the ordination of the Twelve and before the Master’s steps turned toward Gethsemane and Calvary.

The paintings are by Harry Anderson, noted living American illustrator of the life of Christ, and by David Roberts (1796–1864), a British artist who visited the Holy Land in 1839–42 and produced many drawings and lithographs of scenes there. Roberts’ work, though romanticized in aspects, offers a rare view of what the Holy Land might have looked like before the modernization of the twentieth century.

Some of Harry Anderson’s paintings are printed by courtesy of the Church; others are printed courtesy of the Pacific Press Publishing Association, for whom Mr. Anderson has painted many illustrations.

The photography is from Church Educational System (CES) photographers.

Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee

1. Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, lithograph by David Roberts.

“Peace, Be Still”: Mount Hermon from the Sea of Galilee

2. “Peace, Be Still”: Mount Hermon from the Sea of Galilee, photograph by Kenneth H. Patey.

Village of Nain

3. Village of Nain, photograph by CES.

Chorazin

4. Chorazin, photograph by Kenneth H. Patey.

The Sea of Galilee, Looking toward the Gadarene Coast

5. The Sea of Galilee, Looking toward the Gadarene Coast, lithograph by David Roberts.

Gadara

6. Gadara, photograph by CES.

The Feeding of the Five Thousand

7. The Feeding of the Five Thousand, painting by Harry Anderson; © Pacific Press Publishing Association, used by permission.

Bethsaida

8. Bethsaida, photograph by Kenneth H. Patey.

Plain of Gennesaret

9. Plain of Gennesaret, photograph by Kenneth H. Patey.

Sidon

10. Sidon, lithograph by David Roberts.

Magdala, From the Sea of Galilee

11. Magdala, From the Sea of Galilee, photograph by CES.

Banias Springs from the Air

12. Banias Springs from the Air, photograph by CES.

The Tribute Money

13. The Tribute Money, painting by Harry Anderson; © Pacific Press Publishing Association, used by permission.

Galilee at Sunset

14. Galilee at Sunset, photograph by CES.

O Galilee! sweet Galilee!
Where Jesus loved so much to be;
O Galilee! blue Galilee!
Come, sing thy song again to me.

(Hymns, no. 38.)

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

15. Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, lithograph by David Roberts.

The Woman Taken in Adultery

16. The Woman Taken in Adultery, painting by Harry Anderson; © Pacific Press Publishing Association, used by permission.

Christ and the Children

17. Christ and the Children, painting by Harry Anderson.

Healing of the Blind Men

18. Healing of the Blind Men, painting by Harry Anderson; © Pacific Press Publishing Association, used by permission.

Jericho

19. Jericho, lithograph by David Roberts.

New Testament Jericho

20. New Testament Jericho, photograph by CES.

Apart from several journeys, much of the Savior’s ministry before his final departure for Jerusalem was concentrated around the Sea of Galilee. This 1839 lithograph by David Roberts shows the ruins of the city of Tiberias, which lay on the western shore of the sea. There is no record of Jesus having visited Tiberias; however, this view encompasses numerous sites memorable for their connection with the Savior’s ministry. Along the bay at far left were the city of Magdala and the Plain of Gennesaret. On the opposite coast at the center of the picture would have been Capernaum, “his own city” (Matt. 9:1; Mark 2:1 ff), with Chorazin in the hills just beyond. The entrance of the Jordan River into the Sea of Galilee would be at right center, and near the coast at far right was Bethsaida, the home of Peter, Andrew, and Philip. On the horizon rises the majestic summit of Mount Hermon.

“When the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. …

“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

“And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. …

“And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:35–41.)

This view is from the Sea of Galilee looking northward toward Syria, with the white-capped peaks of Mount Hermon appearing in the distance. Because of the mountains surrounding the sea, sudden changes in temperature can occur, giving rise to high winds and sudden, violent storms upon the water.

“And it came to pass … that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.

“Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.

“And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.

“And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.

“And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.

“And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.” (Luke 7:11–16.)

The small village of Nain is located some six miles southeast of Nazareth on a hill that adjoins the north slope of ancient Mount Moreh. Anciently, the death of a widow’s only son was seen as a great calamity, since it deprived her of her only source of sustenance.

“Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:

“Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

“But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.

“And thou Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. (Matt. 11:20–23.)

The New Testament site of Chorazin lies three miles north of Capernaum. The basalt ruins shown here are those of a fourth-century A.D. synagogue. Jesus pronounced a curse on Chorazin, as well as on Capernaum and Bethsaida. Of these three cities, nothing remains today but ruins.

The eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, seen here in the distance from the western hills above the city of Tiberias, slopes steeply to the shore from the ridges and high tableland of Decapolis, known today as the Golan Heights. In this area Jesus commanded a legion of unclean spirits to leave the body of a tormented man, whereupon they entered into a herd of swine. The precipitous shoreline provides a likely setting for the swine plunging into the waters of the lake. The inhabitants of Gadara, being Gentiles, did not share Jewish scruples regarding the raising of swine.

“And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

“And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, … [who] cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

“For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.

“And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.

“And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

“Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.

“And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.

“And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.” (Mark 5:1–13.)

“And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there sat with his disciples.

“And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.

“When Jesus lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? …

“Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.

“One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him,

“There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

“And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

“And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.

“When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.

“Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

“Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of truth that prophet that should come into the world.

“When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.” (John 6:3–15.)

About a mile and a half north of where the Jordan River enters the Sea of Galilee lies an archaeological site known as Bethsaida, visible here at left center, with the Plain of Bethsaida and the northeast corner of the sea beyond. This city was the birthplace of Peter and Andrew and the home of Philip. (See John 1:44; John 12:21–22.) Near Bethsaida occurred the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fishes for the feeding of five thousand of Jesus’ followers. Later, Jesus also fed four thousand by a similar miracle. (See Matt. 15:32–38; Mark 8:1–9.) Jesus cursed Bethsaida as he did Capernaum and Chorazin because of the people’s unbelief in the face of miracles. (See Matt. 11:21–22; Luke 10:13.)

“And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.

“And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased;

“And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.” (Matt. 14:34–36.)

Following the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus’ disciples entered a ship bound for the “other side.” When evening came, a “contrary wind” arose, and the ship was “tossed with waves.” Then came Jesus to them, walking upon the water; and when he had come into the ship, the wind ceased. Jesus and his disciples then sailed to the west shore. Multitudes of people, learning that Jesus was in the area, flocked to see him in the Plain of Gennesaret. Many of the sick were healed simply by touching the hem of Jesus’ clothing. (See also Mark 6:53–56.) The Plain of Gennesaret is seen here from the pass leading down from Mount Arbel. The lowland below is located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. The plain itself is approximately three miles long and one mile wide.

“Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

“And behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. …

“But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. …

“It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.

“And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

“Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.” (Matt. 15:21–28.)

The only recorded journey in which Jesus left the general area of the Holy Land itself during his mortal ministry was to the area of Tyre and Sidon, both located on the Mediterranean coast. Earlier, people from Sidon and Tyre had come to Galilee to hear his teachings and witness his miracles. (See Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17.) Sidon, an ancient city of the Canaanites, is pictured in this 1839 lithograph from the south, looking northward to the mountains of Lebanon. The modern city, just twenty-four miles south of Beirut, lies on the slope of a small promontory jutting out into the sea.

Jesus went to Magdala following his miracle of feeding the four thousand near Bethsaida. Here he encountered Pharisees and Sadducees who asked him for a sign from heaven. He responded: “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.” (Matt. 16:4.) Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene, lay at the southern tip of the Plain of Gennesaret six miles southwest of Capernaum. It was a town of importance in Jesus’ day, since it lay on the caravan route from the Mediterranean coast to Damascus. In this photograph, Mount Arbel (at left) stands south of the pass leading from the heights of Galilee down to the Sea of Galilee area.

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

“And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:13–16.)

The Banias Springs, shown here, are just north of the ancient site of Caesarea Philippi and are a principal source of the Jordan River. In Jesus’ day, niches in the rock next to the large cave at center held idols of the Greek god Pan. Thus, it may have been in this very setting that he asked his disciples the significant question, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” It was here that Jesus began to teach the disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer humiliation and death. (See Matt. 16:21.) At the top of the photo are the foothills of Mount Hermon. According to some students, the proximity of Caesarea Philippi to Mount Hermon is argument for the transfiguration of Christ having occurred in this area. (See Matt. 17:1–2 ff.)

“And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

“He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?

“Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.

“Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.” (Matt. 17:24–27.)

During the final year of his ministry, Jesus left Galilee and journeyed toward Jerusalem, departing the locale of the majority of his miracles and some of the greatest of his sermons.

“Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand.

“His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. …

“When his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. …

“Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.

“And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?

“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” (John 7:2–3, 10, 14–16.)

“Early in the morning he came … into the temple. …

“And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

“They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

“Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

“This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

“So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

“And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

“And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

“When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

“She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:2–11.)

Leaving Jerusalem after the Feast of Dedication, Jesus went down across the Jordan into the area of Perea. After a return journey to Bethany and from there to “a city called Ephraim” (John 11:54), he again crossed the Jordan into Perea and began the journey that would take him through Jericho and up to Gethsemane and Calvary. It was during these travels in Perea that Jesus said of the children, “Forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19:14.)

“And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.

“And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.

“And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.

“And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?

“They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.

“So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.” (Matt. 20:29–34; cf. Mark 10:46–52.)

It is thought to have been near Jericho that Jesus was baptized prior to the beginning of his ministry; and now as the end of his mortal labors drew near, he once again passed through Jericho. This David Roberts lithograph shows the Jericho area looking southward toward the Dead Sea. At center is depicted the moonlit site of Old Testament Jericho, with the modern city, just a small village of about 200 population in 1839, at left of center lower in the valley.

Two or three miles south of the site of Old Testament Jericho are the remains of a city identified as New Testament Jericho. Jesus passed through here on his journey to Jerusalem. Great multitudes followed him, and it is here that we read of the conversion of the charitable tax collector Zacchaeus and the parable of the ten pounds. (See Luke 19:1–27.) As he departed the city, he healed the blindness of Bartimaeus and his companion (see Matt. 20:29–34; cf. Mark 10:46–52), and then continued along the pilgrim road leading up to the Mount of Olives and Jerusalem.