By Marianne Schwab | Best Travel Deals Tips Blog

The Mount of the Beatitudes

Journey to Israel Where the Bible Comes Alive

My short visit to the Mount of the Beatitudes on the Sea of Galilee was memorable. It's been over a decade since I traveled to Israel on a Walk Where Jesus Walked tour of the Holy Land that started in the ancient city of Jerusalem. My biggest regret is that I was not as familiar with the Holy Bible then as I am now since I've spent many years since my trip to Israel reading and studying it - the words, the origins, the events, archeological information, cultural context, and so much more.

I know that information may turn some people off and I get it because I used to be one of those people who was totally turned off when people started talking about "the Bible." Don't worry. I'm not going to push religion here as I'm not about that, but the point is the more you know about a place before you visit, the more meaningful of a trip you can have when you get there. That is definitely the case when you take a Walk Where Jesus Walked tour of the Holy Land. And since our tour encompassed many Old Testament locations as well, a genuine knowledge will make the journey so much more meaningful.

The Mount of Beatitudes is located on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee just a short walking distance from the ruins of the ancient village of Capernaum (a home base for Jesus during his time in the Galilee), but you will probably want to drive it. This location gets its name after some of the most well known verses in the New Covenant books of the Bible. The Church of the Beatitudes, located on the famous hillside, was built in the mid-1930's.

This Roman Catholic church replaced the ruins of a structure originally built there in the fourth century when it became a common practice to build a church on sites deemed to be significant locations mentioned in the four gospels of the New Testament in order to "preserve" the site. Although, it seems odd now versus having left the site more "natural," it makes for a great tour to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

The Beatitudes, also known as the Sermon on the Mount, can be found in the book written by Matthew, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. He recorded events of his time spent in Christ's inner circle in what's been known as the Gospel of Matthew since the events recorded are based on his eyewitness accounts.

No one really knows for sure if this is the actual location where Jesus delivered one of his most quoted sermons, but since the 4th century, Christian pilgrims were known to have commemorated this hillside site (also known as Mount Eremos) as a the place that it most likely occurred.

The Sermon on the Mount:
The Beatitudes

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him and he began to teach them. Jesus said:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

~Matthew 5:1-10

What the trip to Israel and visiting places like the Mount of the Beatitudes did for me was enrich my reading of the Bible since I have now been to the places where recorded Biblical events took place including the original steps of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Walking in the footsteps of Jesus from Jerusalem to the Sea of Galilee made the Bible not seem so mythological since these are real places and now I have a geographical context when I read the Bible - much like when you read a story that takes place in your hometown, for example, because you can understand the setting in a unique way since you've been there.

The Bible certainly comes alive when you tour Israel and the Mount of Beatitudes is no exception. I can understand why many people may be skeptical regarding the Bible, but when you visit the real villages and cities where Biblical events took place this Holy Book takes on an entire new meaning and you discover why it's called the book that breathes.

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About Marianne Schwab
TV Travel Show Producer

For over twenty years, TV Travel Show Producer, Marianne Schwab, has been collecting money saving travel tips as a travel producer for high profile television programs. She has flown all over the world and produced live television productions on location from Caesar's Palace on the Vegas Strip to the beautiful island of Oahu. Read more