One of the things I like most about guiding pilgrims and Christians is seeing travelers encountering the sites. People who grew up on Bible stories, who have been hearing about Nazareth , Bethlehem and Jerusalem since they were children, come to the actual places and better understand the stories they grew up with: all the pieces of the puzzle come together.
Something else that enhances the experience of travelers is that, unlike synagogues, many churches commemorate events from the New Testament.
There are almost no synagogues commemorating events from the Jewish Bible. There are, of course, many other important churches but for this post I have chosen ten churches that relate the main events of the life of Jesus in chronological order. The place where it all began. The Church of the Annunciation is located in the heart of Nazareth, on the site where, according to tradition, the house of Mary once stood. Today Nazareth is a city of 70, inhabitants but 2, years ago Nazareth was a small village.
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According to Catholic tradition this is the place where the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive a child and become the mother of Jesus, Son of God. The Church of the Annunciation has been built and destroyed several times.
The church in its current incarnation was built in but the importance of this site and of the sites to follow lies not in the building but in the archeological site inside it, identified as the house of Mary. More information about the Church of the Annunciation. Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem because the Romans were conducting a census and Joseph was originally from Bethlehem. Bethlehem was also the birthplace of King David. The connection between the Old and New Testaments can be seen in many sites. The New Testament actually begins with the family line running through the generations from Abraham to Joseph to Jesus.
According to tradition, Jesus was born on the 25 th of December. The church was first built in the year but has been destroyed and rebuilt several times.
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Different parts of the church belong to different groups: the Greek Orthodox, Catholics and the Armenians. John baptized Jesus where, according to tradition, Joshua who led the Israelites after the death of Moses passed the Jordan River with the Israelite tribes when bringing them to the land of Israel.
In the first centuries many Christian denominations commemorated the date of the baptism as more important than the date of birth because it was from that point that he started his mission. There are some churches on the Israeli side of the Jordan River and some on the Jordanian side, but the water is the most important thing. Many pilgrims come here to be baptized, many by their community priest. There is another baptismal site, Yardenit, south of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus grew up in Nazareth.
After Jesus was baptized he came back to Nazareth and preached in a synagogue, implying that he was the Messiah. The crowd was displeased and took him out of the synagogue with the intention of hurting him, but Jesus disappeared among the people. Disappointed by the people of Nazareth, he moved to the area surrounding the Sea of Galilee, where he lived for three years. It is believed that this church stands on the spot where the synagogue where Jesus preached once stood. Not at any point in the New Testament does Jesus talk about starting a new religion.
In order to understand the life of Jesus one must understand the time in which he lived in — the end of the second Temple, the first century CE. After Jesus left Nazareth he lived in Capernaum, hence the name — the town of Jesus.
Today Capernaum is an archeological site incorporating places mentioned in the New Testament. The impressive Capernaum synagogue dates from the 5 th century but it was built on the ruins of a synagogue dating from the 1 st century, where Jesus, according to the New Testament, prayed, preached and performed miracles Luke Not far from the synagogue is a modern octagonal church, which was built above a church from the 5 th century, which, in turn, was built on the site of a house dating back to the 1 st century.
According to Catholic tradition, this is the house where Simon Peter lived. The house is mentioned in the New Testament and inscriptions in Greek, Latin and Aramaic were found there. The place was probably one of the first, if not the first, places of gathering for the followers of Jesus, hence its being given the name domus ecclesia house of gathering.
After supper he walked with three of his disciples to Gethsemane, which was a quiet corner of the city. Jesus asked his disciples to stay awake and pray but they fell asleep. Judas came to Jesus and gave him the kiss that was the sign for the Romans to arrest him. This is one of the most important churches in the world. But soon he started looking at the waves and the storm. When he took his eyes off Jesus he began to sink.
Jesus reached out and caught Peter. They went together into the ship.
Note Verse 2 - Jesus' Life
After they were in the boat the Bible says that the disciples worshiped Jesus. They began to realize that Jesus really was the son of God. Right after the story of Jesus feeding 4, people they brought a man to Him who was blind. They were in the city of Bethsaida.
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The people asked Jesus to touch the man so that he could see again. They knew Jesus had power to heal people. Jesus took the blind man and led him out of the city. He healed the man by spitting on his eyes and touching them. Jesus asked the man if he could see anything. The man opened his eyes and said that he could see men walking around like trees.
After this the man could see clearly. Jesus was able to do many wonderful miracles. If this article was helpful to you, please consider linking this article to your own blog or sharing this through the social buttons to the left. You might also find some of these other good Bible story articles helpful:. David Peach has been in full time missions work with the Deaf since He has started several deaf ministries in various countries and established a deaf church in Mexico.
David now works as Director of Deaf Ministries for his mission board. Read them in the archive below. If you like what you're reading, you can get free daily updates through the RSS feed here. Thanks for stopping by! Sheila, Any of the much beloved Old Testament stories are great for children. They have a story and a reason they are in the Bible. They are recorded for us so that we can learn lessons from them.
Many stories have been summarized here at What Christians Want to Know.
Do a search with the search box using a name of the Bible story you are interested in. You will probably find something that will help you get good stories for church. Yes, you have our permission to use this information. Thanks you for asking permission. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. Subscribe me to your newsletter.
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