From Nazareth to Rome
(Holy Land, Empire, and Global Mission)
November 10-22, 2011
With tour leaders J. Nelson Kraybill and Audrey Voth Petkau
Touch the soil and absorb the beauty of the Holy Land, where God called out a people and brought hope to the world through Jesus Christ. Visit sites—such as Mount Carmel and Jericho—where foundational events in the Old Testament happened. See Bethlehem where Jesus was born, and take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee where Peter fished. Visit amazing ruins at Caesarea and Masada, pivotal sites in the encounter of Jews or Christians with the Roman Empire. Walk from the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem, where Jesus was put on trial, where the Holy Spirit empowered disciples for global mission. Then make your way to the grandeur of imperial Rome, where Paul was martyred and the early church flourished. For the entire journey, read select portions of Scripture with fellow pilgrims, and hear lively reflections by an accomplished Bible scholar, J. Nelson Kraybill, who brings a wealth of scholarly insight and an ability to make that accessible and interesting to the average person. A Palestinian Christian guide, resident in Israel, will share detailed knowledge of biblical sites and work together with Kraybill to provide comprehensive interpretation of places we visit. Audrey Voth Petkau from the TourMagination office will look after the tour logistics. Consider how issues of empire, peacemaking, allegiance, and mission intersected for Jews and Christians in the ancient world. Return home with a whole new perspective on Scripture, discipleship, and the mission of the church today.
Click here to read past blogs about tours to the Holy Lands.
Thursday & Friday, November 10 & 11
Evening departure from Newark’s Liberty International Airport with arrival in Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon, via Munich. We will travel on to Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, where we will stay for two nights.
Saturday, November 12
After a good night’s rest, we will be ready to visit the Church of the Annunciation to see the traditional place where the angel visited Mary. We will enter Nazareth Village, a re-creation of a first-century village as it would have been in Jesus’ day and take a parable walk and hear Jesus’ parables in a setting where the parables may have been given, see a replica of a first-century century synagogue and enjoy a first-century lunch.Then we will explore nearby ancient Sepphoris, where Jesus may have been employed as a young man.
Sunday, November 13
Ruins at Caesarea
We will journey to Caesarea where Peter shared the gospel with the centurion Cornelius. We will see the aqueduct built by Herod, and ascend the heights of Mount Carmel where Elijah met the prophets of Baal, and view the splendid Jezreel Valley. We will have a two-night stay at a kibbutz by the Sea of Galilee.
Monday, November 14
Today we will view the landscape of Jesus’ ministry from a boat on the Sea of Galilee. We will visit the Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Kursi (where Jesus sent demons into swine) and the Church of the Loaves and Fishes. We will enjoy a St. Peter’s Fish Lunch at noon.
Sea of Galilee Boat
Tuesday, November 15
On our way to Jerusalem today, we will visit a Jordan River baptismal site, see ancient Jericho and take a cable car to the Mt. of Temptation. We will travel up the steep road to Jerusalem through the wilderness of the Good Samaritan parable. The next four nights we will stay at a hotel in Jerusalem.
Wednesday, November 16
We will make haste to Bethlehem for the Church of the Nativity and Shepherds’ Field. Then we will get a bird’s eye view of ancient Jerusalem with the extensive model at the Israel Museum, and see the Shrine of the Book. We will visit the Pool of Siloam at the edge of the old City of David, and step into an ancient church with an Upper Room commemorating the Last Supper. We want to have an evening conversation with MCC workers in Jerusalem.
Thursday, November 17
On Thursday, we will head down to the desert for a visit to Masada, the magnificent site of Herod’s palaces and of the last stand of Jews who rebelled against Rome. We will stop by the oasis at En Gedi where David hid in the cave. We will see the caves of the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran, and float in the Dead Sea.
Friday, November 18
Western Wall in Old Jerusalem
We will visit the Mount of Olives this morning, where Jesus often retreated, to get a panoramic view of Jerusalem. We will take time to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane and pause at the Western Wall in the Old City. Then we will go to Temple Mount where the biblical temple once stood. We will think of our Lord’s suffering as we walk along the Via Dolorosa. The day will be concluded as we celebrate communion at the Garden Tomb.
Saturday, November 19
We will depart very early this morning for Rome via Munich, Germany. We will have most of the afternoon to start our discoveries of the ancient Roman city and its impact on Christianity.
Sunday, November 20
The Forum, the Arch of Titus (built to commemorate the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70), the Coliseum (named for the colossal statue of Nero that stood nearby), the Alexamenos graffito, ruins of the Palace of Domitian and the Circus Maximus are on our schedule for today. A short stop will be made at Monte Testaccio, the city dump of ancient Rome.
Inside the Coliseum
Monday, November 21
Today we will see St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums, including the Pio Cristiano Museum of early Christian art. We will travel on the ancient Appian Way to the catacombs where biblical images and stories that once sustained a persecuted church will be highlighted and we will have a communion service.
Tuesday, November 22
We will have an early morning departure for the airport. You will travel home with rich new insights to inform your faith and understanding of the Bible.