Monday, October 27, 2008

Light from God in strange places

I am in Galilee, Israel on a pilgrimage "in the footsteps of Jesus". It is striking to see the geography and closeness of the famous place names of Jesus' Galilean ministry - Capernaum, Tiberias, Magdala (just a few kms up the lakeside from where I am writing). We went up to Caesarea Philippi this afternoon and I kept wondering why Jesus went so far away - surely to get away from the excitement of the Galilean crowds, to think and pray with his disciples.

We had a falafel lunch at Cana yesterday. I had never thought of Cana as a mountain village! We usually think first of the water into wine wedding miracle on John 4, but I recalled the healing (at a distance) of the official's son (Jn. 4:43-54). It is an example of the evidence of answered prayer raised in my earlier post - the timing shows that the "coincidence" of recovery is of the Lord Jesus' making (Jn. 4:51-52).

Galilee must have seemed an unlikely place for the light of God's saving work to dawn - even though Isaiah foresaw it centuries before (Isa. 9:1-2). It would be in Galilee of the Gentiles, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, that the people living in darkness would see a great light. Matthew cites Isaiah to explain the Galilean dawning of the Messiah Jesus' ministry. How God works in strange ways! Not in Jerusalem, not from the big city, not from the theologians or scholars, but in the backblocks, from the unknown corner of Nazareth, in troubled Galilee, does the salvation dawn.

I try to remember to look for the light of God to dawn in unexpected ways and in strange places.

1 comment:

Bronwen said...

Hi Ralph, I love reading your reflections and it is great to see a few photos of the group as you journey around Israel. Praying that you will continue to see the light from God in strange places...