Our first stop today was to the old city of Caesarea.
The city was initially built by Herod in 22 BC. But a lot would take place in the last 2000 years. Earthquakes destroyed some of it. The Byzantine Empire would re-create some of it. The Muslims would come in and destroy some of it before rebuilding and the Crusaders came in to change some things.
I will show some pictures and a couple of videos before talking about the significance of this old city.
It was said that to keep people happy and without a motive to revolt, the minimal needs / desires for food and entertainment were to be met. Herod did this.
Here is my Sweetheart that I get to enjoy this trip with…
This is Mika, our tour guide, speaking with us.
This structure (below) once had a temple resting on top of it, built by Herod.
Some archaeologists at work.
Architecture inside the main entrance to the fortress at Caesarea. The Crusaders built this.
The moat that surrounded the fortress at Caesarea – built by the Crusaders.
So, what’s the gospel significance surrounding this location? I’m glad you asked…
As the Gospel reached outside of Jerusalem, some very significant things happened in this place.
Philip, a Deacon at the first church in Jerusalem (Acts 6:1-7), was excited about Jesus and was on a preaching tour that culminated (or at least paused) in this city.
Acts 8:40 “But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.”
Paul embarked to Tarsus from this city.
Acts 9:29–30 “And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him. And when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.”
When a death threat was made against the Apostle Paul that became known to a Roman tribune, plans were made to send Paul to this city.
Acts 23:23–24 “Then he (the Roman tribune) called two of the centurions and said, ‘Get ready two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea at the third hour of the night. Also provide mounts for Paul to ride and bring him safely to Felix the governor.’
Finally, we are told that Cornelius, a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity, lived here.
Acts 10:1–2 “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.”
Also, if you read my previous post about Tel Aviv, you realize that Peter was staying in Joppa (the southern part of present day Tel Aviv). Cornelius sent two servants and a Roman on the 50 mile trip to Joppa, as the result of a vision, to ask Peter to come to his home in Caesarea. Peter, after getting clarity from the Lord, complied and traveled the 50 miles to Caesarea to visit with Cornelius and share the Gospel with him.
Acts 10:21–43 “And Peter went down to the men and said, ‘I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?’ And they said, ‘Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.’ So he invited them in to be his guests.”
“The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I too am a man.’ And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. And he said to them, ‘You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.'”
“And Cornelius said, ‘Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, “Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.” So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.'”
“So Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.'”