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In the “region of Caesarea Philippi” Jesus asked his Jewish disciples “Who do men say that I am?” What happened next turned their world upside down.

Why Here? Why Now?

North Pointe’s Israel team visited Caesarea Philippi in February 2017. The ancient city stood in a once lush area near the foot of Mount Hermon. Now, its a unexceptional locale visited primarily by tourists.

Caesarea Philippi was like a red-light district in the Jewish world and the devout would have avoided any contact with the despicable acts committed there.

It was a city of people eagerly knocking on the doors of hell.

Our Jewish guide questioned, “Why would Jesus – a good Jew – bring his Jewish disciples to the heart of pagan idolatry?”

One of our team members, Kelly Kimo asked, “Why not?”

The Gate To The Underworld

The pagans of Jesus’ day commonly believed that their fertility gods lived in the underworld during the winter and returned to earth each spring. They saw water as a symbol of the underworld and thought that their gods traveled to and from that world through caves.

The cave and spring water at Caesarea Philippi created a gate to the underworld. They believed that their city was literally at the gates of the underworld – the gates of Hades.

In order to entice the return of their god – Pan – people would engage in horrible deeds, including sexual interaction between humans and goats.

Declaration At The Gates of Hades

Standing at the gates of Hades, Jesus says, “On this Rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

In a place where the white marbled splendor of pagan worship dominated the landscape, a penniless carpenter declares to his twelve ordinary disciples that he will build “his church.”

It’s as if Jesus deliberately set Himself against the backdrop of the worst evils of culture in all their splendor and demanded to be contrasted with them.

Faith Declarations

The evils of culture haven’t changed much in two thousand years. They have morphed outwardly but at their core they stand against the goodness of God.

What most causes you trepidation or fear?

* Immorality?
* Family breakdown?
* Marital unfaithfulness?
* War?
* Terrorism?

That’s your place to declare “Jesus Christ is Lord.”

Say it out loud. Say it so people most important to you hear you.

Evil will not stand against the grace of Jesus.

APPLICATION: Please leave a comment below. Thank you.

I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 44 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vincent and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers


  • Carole Schlachta says:

    Wonderful read. Thank you so much.
    I was very encouraged.

  • Teunis Greeve says:

    I never knew the background information behind Jesus’ declaration regarding His Church while He ministered there… Fascinating! Thank you.

  • Fear was the dominating motivating factor in my life right up until 2008. All through 2007 I knew God was preparing me to lead worship at Northwest Pentecostal. I had led worship at a small church on Vancouver Island more than 10 years earlier before suffering a serious mental and emotional collapse. It was difficult and frightening then, it would seem to be much more difficult now.

    Then, in February 2008, I was called upon to lead worship. I talked about it to the Lord and it seemed He was telling me that He had called me to do it and He would be there with me to see me through it. He always showed up – every Sunday I led worship, He was there.

    Fear has had no significant effect on my life since then. Remember, when we walk with God, we are WITH GOD; who can stand against us?

  • Bob Jones says:

    Thank you Gary for commenting. Good to know you are reading and risking and living large for the Lord.

  • Bob Jones says:

    Thank you Teunis for your first comment on our blogsite. Come back for more!

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