Most of the three years of Jesus’ ministry took place along the Northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Here He did most of His teaching, preaching, miracles, and fed the 5,000. Most of His disciples were from this region. But just before He took His disciples on His last trip to Jerusalem, where He knew the Cross awaited, He left the quiet, pastoral hills of Galilee for a two day journey to Caesarea Philippi. Why?
That was one of the most pagan, violent, and occult places of worship in all of Israel’s history. What was His purpose in taking them to such a place, before facing betrayal, arrest, beating and crucifixion?
Each time I visit Caesarea Philippi, the answer becomes clearer. Jesus was preparing the disciples for their future ministry! They needed confirmation of Who He really was, why He came, and what their future mission was all about.
This Sunday, I want you to come along with me to Caesarea Philippi and discover the meaning behind the story of “The Gates of Hell” and Peter’s confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”. For what Jesus revealed about Himself and His mission is both sobering and reassuring to us in light of the world in which we are living, where the Gates of Hell seem to be on the ascendancy!