Planning a Christian Pilgrimage to Israel: Follow in the Footsteps of Jesus
Ever wondered where Jesus lived or where Jesus traveled in Israel? If you're planning a Christian Pilgrimage to walk in the footsteps of Jesus in Israel then this rundown of where Jesus lived, traveled and visited during his lifetime will help you.
Where was Jesus born and where did Jesus spend his childhoodJesus' family came from Nazareth in Northern Israel, so this would have been Jesus home town. As we know from the Christmas story Joseph and Mary – Jesus' parents – went to Bethlehem, near Jerusalem for a national censes. While there Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Before returning to Nazareth the family is thought to have spent some time in Egypt in hiding from Herod's proclamation to kill all first born Jews.
The family returned to Nazareth where Jesus grew up until about 11 years old when they visited Jerusalem for Passover, but once again returned home after the festival. It is thought that Jesus remained in Nazareth until his late 20's or early 30's.
Jesus visited John the Baptist at Yardenit, a point along the Jordan River close to the Sea of Galilee, here Jesus was baptized. Following his baptism Jesus went into the wilderness of the Judean Desert to fast and contemplate on is beliefs. It is thought that it was the Mount of Temptation near Jericho where the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness.
The Ministry of Jesus in the GalileeJesus then returned to the Galilee where he commenced his ministry traveling from village to village preaching the word of G-d, it was also during this time that Jesus performed many miracles. It is difficult to trace exactly what order Jesus visited the villages in but he made his base in Capernaum (today Kfar nachum). The years of his ministry include attending a wedding in Cana (Kfar Kana) where he turned water to wine.
Jesus returned to Jerusalem for Passover during this period and on his return to the north he passed through the Samarian village of Sychar, thought to be either Schem or Askar today here he met the woman at the well.
While preaching in the north Jesus also visited his childhood home of Nazareth and spent time along the coast of the Sea of Galilee once again performing miracles (e.g. walking on the water). He also would have visited the villages of Sepphoris and Nain overlooking the Valley of Jezreel. On the Mount of the Beatitudes looking out over the Sea of Galilee he gave the Sermon on the Mount.
Near Bethsaida (now Tabha) Jesus fed 5,000 with five loaves and two fish and later in the surrounding country side he fed 4,000 with 7 loaves and fish. Jesus also visited the Galilee village of Magdala.
On Mount Tabor Jesus conversed with Moses and Elijah while radiating light, this is known as the transfiguration.
The Passion Week in JerusalemThe next and final period of Jesus' life was spent in Jerusalem, however while in Jerusalem he spent the evenings in the nearby village of Bethany the home town of Mary Magdalene and Martha as well as Lazarus. On his journey from the north of Israel to Jerusalem Jesus went via Jericho.
Jesus spent his last few days in Jerusalem, in what is today know as the Old City. He also spent time on the Mount of Olives and in the Garden of Gethsemane on the slopes of the mount. For example the last supper was held on the Mount of Olives and Jesus was arrested in the garden at the foot of the mount. Once within the Old City Jesus was tried and sentenced to crucifixion. His final day was spent walking the Via Dolorosa which Christians can follow through the lanes of the Old City until they reach the final station at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The Church is thought to be both the site of Calvary/Golgotha where Jesus was crucified and the tomb where he was buried. Others (the Orthodox Church) believe that Jesus was buried in the Garden Tomb outside the city walls.
Planning your Christian Pilgrimage to Israel following in the footsteps of JesusThis whirlwind tour of the sites Jesus visited is intended to give you an idea of where to visit if you want to walk in the footsteps of Jesus when visiting Israel. Use this guide of Jesus' movements throughout his time on Earth to plan your Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
The villages Jesus visited during his ministry in the Galilee can conveniently be seen by following the Jesus Trail in the Galilee. In Jerusalem you can walk in the footsteps of Jesus by taking any of the one day tours offered within the Old City, tours are also available to Bethlehem and the southern part of the country which covers the Judean Desert and Jericho.