What was the significance of the sea of Galilee at the ministry of Jesus?

BibleAsk TeamPosted on

The sea of Galilee is a freshwater lake in Israel. It is about 13 mi long and 8.1 mi wide. The lake is fed mostly by the Jordan River.  The Sea of Galilee had different names in the Bible. In the Old Testament, it was called the Sea of Chinneroth (Joshua 12:3). And in the New Testament it was called the Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1) and the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1).

In the time of Christ, the Sea of Galilee was surrounded by the richest and most crowded district of all Palestine. Next to it laid the fertile Plain of Gennesaret (Matt. 14:34; Mark 6:53). Galilee was populated chiefly with Jews, and was a busy center (Luke 2:42, 44). It was situated away from the prejudice of Judaism and thus served as a perfect area for the ministry of Christ.

Matthew records that that district was to be blessed with great light “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light” (Matthew 4:15,16). This was taken from the Old Testament prophecy in Isaiah 9:1. Christ came as the mighty deliverer from sin proclaiming the glorious light of truth (John 1:5; John 8:12; 9:5).

At the sea of Galilee, Jesus called called Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, and John when they were working as fishermen (Matthew 4:18–22). Also, he called Levi (Matthew) who was collecting taxes (Mark 2:13–17). And He appointed the twelve disciples (Mark 3:13–19).

Jesus spent a good part of His ministry around Capernaum, Tiberias, and Gergesa. There, He made the miracle of collecting a coin from a fish for taxes (Matthew 17:24–27), healed the paralytic (Mark 2:1–12), delivered the possessed man (Mark 5:1–20), healed the bleeding woman (Luke 8:40–56), healed the centurion’s servant (Luke 7:1–10), fed the four thousand (Matthew 15:29–39) and the five thousand (Luke 9:10–17).

In one incident when the disciples were crossing the sea alone a fierce storm arose and threatened the life of the disciples. Jesus came to the disciples walking on water (Matthew 14:22–33). Peter asked the Lord if he could walk on the water, Jesus allowed him. And the wind and the storm ceased.

In similar incident, Jesus was with His disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee and while he was asleep a great storm rose and the disciples were afraid so they cried to Jesus for help and He rebuked their unbelief and commanded the sea to be calm (Mark 4:35–41).

After the resurrection, Jesus met Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, John, and two other disciples who were fishing at the sea of Galilee. The disciples were discouraged because they worked all night but could not catch any fish. Jesus asked them to throw their nets on the right side of the boat. And when they did “they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish” (John 21:6). The disciples were encouraged by this miracle and were filled with hope and faith as they were to embark on their mission to become fishers of men to the world.

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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