The city of Tiberias is mentioned only a few times in the New Testament. However, it was an important part of Jewish History. It is said that much of the Jewish books of law, like the Talmud, were written in Tiberias. After the Romans captured the area, the city that was once called Rakkat, was renamed Tiberias by Herod Antipas after the Roman Emperor Tiberius.
Tiberias was pretty much a central hub of the area. You can get too many other cities traveling through this once capital port city, located on the Sea of Galilee.
The name Tiberias has three different characterizations:
- The name of a Roman Emperor – During Jesus’ time, Tiberias was the reigning Roman Emperor. He helped Herod Antipas restore land that he inherited from his father. Jesus appeared before Tiberias before being passed onto Antipas, then to Pilate.
- The name of the local Sea – The sea is known by three names: The Sea of Tiberias, The Gennesaret, and most popularly known as The Sea of Galilee.
- The name of the city itself – Named by Herod Antipas. He built it on ancient ruins and established it as his capital city. Jews originally found it intolerable to live in it because it once was a burial ground, but later relented. Due to Antipas’ encouragement, they began establishing synagogues within the city after thorough ritual purification.
Biblical Accounts of Tiberias
The city is mentioned a few times. The first New Testament mention surrounds Jesus touring the Sea of Galilee. Tiberias is mentioned in a few of the stories we all know and love.
The Feeding of the Five Thousand – Matthew 14 records that after the death of John the Baptist, Jesus and his disciples went away to be alone, but were followed by a multitude of people. John had been beheaded by Herod Antipas, who resided in the city of Tiberias, he was the local ruler. John 6 continues the story of Jesus continuing to teach the people. When it was getting late, Jesus performed the miracle of turning five loaves of bread and two fish into a banquet for thousands.
Jesus Walks on Water – After the feeding, Jesus had sent his disciples on ahead of him while he sent away the crowds and went up to the mountain and prayed. In the middle of the night, the disciples were fighting a strong storm. Jesus came to them, walking on water. Peter asked to come to out to him, Jesus told him to come, and Peter walked upon the water to Jesus. But quickly became afraid and began to sink. Jesus pulled him up, and they both got into the boat. Then they arrived at the other side of the Sea of Tiberias.
I am the Bread of Life Sermon – People were looking for Jesus as word spread of His miracle. John 6:23 states that people came from Tiberias looking for him at the place of the feeding, then went to look in Capernaum. They eventually found him, and Jesus scolded them for seeking “their fill from the loaves.” He goes on to instruct them that they need to seek the bread of life.
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” – John 6:35
Arise Zion: Tiberias & The Israel Tour
Coming in March 2020 GOD TV has announced its 25th anniversary Israel Tour. This exciting 9-day adventure around the Holy Land is jammed pack with guest speakers, experts on Biblical history, and the land Jesus walked upon himself.
It all begins with three days in Tiberias exploring The Sea of Galilee; where Jesus calmed the storm and walked on water; Capernaum, where he performed many miracles; and the Mount of Beatitudes, where of course, Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.
The Bible comes to life, and you will fall in love with Jesus like never before. Guides say that the hardest part of the visit is getting folks back on the plane to go home; they fall in love with the land and do not want to leave. You can book your reservation today and get ready for the experience that will change your life forever.
Written by Jeff Bray