As we spent time near Lake Galilee we reflected on the time that Jesus spent there, with his disciples, both ‘the twelve’ and others, but also encountering all sorts of people, preaching, teaching and healing. The Gospels include many accounts of people gathering to listen to Jesus. Those must have been exciting times as they listened to him talking about God and God’s Kingdom in new ways and watched him help and heal people in need. I enjoyed reflecting on some of those stories, knowing we were in the location in which these things happened.
One interesting thing was to reflect on the practicalities of preaching to large crowds in days when amplification was not around. It was also interesting to reflect on just where some of these gatherings might have taken place. Near the Church of the Multiplication (commemorating the ‘feeding of the five thousand’) we saw a large cave which is known as ‘Jesus’ Cathedral’, one possible location for some of these events. Just across the road – as it is now – we went down on to the beach and could see – and hear – how such a cove formed a natural amphitheatre in which sound travelled relatively easily. We could see how Jesus could have communicated his message in a first century context and a first century way – and might note the challenge to find the right – and best – twenty-first century ways to tell God’s Good News.