Cities of the Decapolis

July 18, 2018

I’m currently presenting a visualized survey of the Bible, with tonight’s lesson dealing with the Life of Christ. Following Jesus’ Galilean Ministry, He pursued a plan to invest more time alone with the Apostles, preparing them for the great work they were to do. This period is known as the Retirement Ministry, “retiring” from the crowds to be with the apostles. One region Jesus traveled during this time was the Decapolis. “Again He went out from the region of Tyre, and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, within the region of Decapolis” (Mark 7:31). This largely Gentile area was comprised of ten cities (hence the name) which were given autonomy by Rome.

One of the cities of the Decapolis was Jerash (Gerasa).

Hadrian Gate at entrance to Jerash, one of the cities of the Decapolis. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Here is a view down the Cardo of Jerash.

Cardo at Jerash. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Another city of the Decapolis was Hippos. From here you can see the Sea of Galilee.

Hippos of the Decapolis. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

We’ve previously written here on Hippos.

Back to our text of Mark 7:31. Here was the site of one of Jesus’ many miracles, which gave proof of His deity:

Again He went out from the region of Tyre, and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, within the region of Decapolis. 32 They brought to Him one who was deaf and spoke with difficulty, and they implored Him to lay His hand on him. 33 Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva; 34 and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He said to him, “Ephphatha!” that is, “Be opened!” 35 And his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly. 36 And He gave them orders not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it. 37 They were utterly astonished, saying, “He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” (Mark 7:31-37).

Click images for larger view.

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Assos, In the Steps of Paul

November 18, 2015

On Paul’s return trip on his 3rd Missionary Journey, after departing from Troas, he walked on to Assos and rejoined his traveling companions there. Today at noon (ETS meeting, ATL) Dr. Mark Wilson did a very informative presentation on that segment of Paul’s travel.

11 Now when he [Paul] had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. 12 And they brought the young man [Eutychus] in alive, and they were not a little comforted. 13 Then we went ahead to the ship and sailed to Assos, there intending to take Paul on board; for so he had given orders, intending himself to go on foot. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene (Acts 20:11-14).

At the acropolis of Assos there are some well-preserved ruins of the temple of Athena.

Assos, temple of Athena. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Assos, temple of Athena. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Here is a view of the Acropolis:

Acropolis of Assos. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Acropolis of Assos. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

While the distance from Troas to Assos as the crow flies is about 20 miles, Dr. Wilson pointed out that the Roman road on which Paul would have traveled would have been about 31 miles, and would have taken two days.

Map by BibleAtlas.org.

Map by BibleAtlas.org.

Mark said that Assos was one of his top 10 favorite places in Turkey to visit. I have to agree!

I have a previous post on Assos here.


2014 in review

December 30, 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 49,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 18 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Ruth the Moabitess

November 15, 2014

After studying the book of Judges, especially with the material recorded in chapters 17-21, the book of Ruth is so refreshing, like a breath of fresh air! This 4 chapter book tells how Elimelech, Naomi, and their two sons left Bethlehem in time of famine for the fields of Moab, sojourning there for ten years. The sons married women of Moab, Ruth and Orpah. Elimelech and both sons died. When Naomi determined to return to Bethlehem, Ruth made the choice to go with her. She said,

Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me (Ruth 1:16-17).

The text narrates how Ruth met and married Boaz, describing Ruth as a hard worker, showing kindness to her mother-in-law, and known throughout the town as a virtuous woman, and depicting Boaz as equally magnanimous, walking in the fear of the LORD. But the real reason Ruth is in the Bible does not become apparent until the closing verses. Starting with Judah’s son Perez as his beginning point, the writer informs us:

Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez fathered Hezron. 19 Hezron fathered Ram, who fathered Amminadab.  Amminadab fathered Nahshon, who fathered Salmon. Salmon fathered Boaz, who fathered Obed.  And Obed fathered Jesse, who fathered David (Ruth 4:18-22).

Ruth is thus seen in the lineage of the Messiah! Her story is one link in the chain of God’s Old Testament promise to bring Christ into the world to accomplish His great redemptive work. Matthew begins his gospel record with the genealogy of Christ, including Ruth: “Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse” (1:5).

Our photo, taken on the NW shore of the Dead Sea, looks across to the mountains of Moab, Ruth’s home.

View across Dead Sea, mountains of Moab in distance. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

View across Dead Sea, mountains of Moab in distance. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

OT Moab is today the territory of Jordan.

Click image for larger view.

 


New Resource: The Big Picture

December 4, 2012

Ferrell Jenkins reviews and recommends a new resource, The Big Picture: A Guide to Learning the Bible’s Story, by Marc Hinds. You may read that review here, including ordering instructions.

I received my copy in yesterday’s mail, and would like to also give my recommendation. This book will be a great resource for beginners as well as for those needing to see the unity and connectivity of the Scriptures.  Marc is a careful student, and capable preacher/teacher.

From Sept. through early Nov., in about an 8 week period, we conducted 6 meetings in several states and Canada. Then on Nov. 12 I had a total knee replacement, with subsequent complications that required more surgery. But things seem to be leveling off now. That has hindered my ability to post on this blog, but we hope to be more regular now. Thanks for your patience.


The Continuity of God’s Plan

January 23, 2012

During most of the decade of the ’80’s we lived and preached in Lexington, AL., a small town in northwest Alabama just below the Tennessee state line. When we moved there we soon heard of a church member, Mr. Beavers (already deceased), whose “gift for gab” was legendary. It was about a 40 minute ride from Lexington to Florence. A company van provided transportation so he and other area workers rode back and forth every day.

It was said that when Mr. Beavers got in the van he started talking. And he talked all the way to work. Then nine hours later at the end of the workday when they loaded up to return home, he start talking again–without fail taking up at the very point he left off that morning! I always thought that was amazing. If my train of thought is interrupted I might have to ask, “Now what was I saying?” But Mr. Beavers could remember consistently, with the passing of nine hours.

But then I think of God’s redemptive plan, which in His eternal wisdom he formulated before the foundation of the earth. He began to reveal that plan in Gen. 3:15, with the first promise of Christ, when sin first entered the world. Little by little through the Old Testament there is the unfolding of God’s plan. Then we come to the book of Malachi, the final prophet in our Old Testament. Malachi prophesied ca. 432 BC. There would be more than 400 years of biblical silence, that is, where there would be no more revelation from God, until that silence is broken as the Gospel records report. But God never forgot His plan. Note the connection between Malachi and Luke (Luke goes back the farthest in his record re: the birth of John), when the angel Gabriel told the aged priest Zacharias that he and his barren wife Elizabeth were to have a son:

The Continuity of God's Plan. Chart by Leon Mauldin.

The Old Testament concluded with a prophecy of John’s birth, figuratively referenced here as Elijah the prophet. He would be the forerunner to prepare the people for Jesus’ coming. But although 400+ passed after Malachi’s prophecy, when God renewed revelation, He took up right where He left off, thus continuing the unfolding of His plan to bring Christ into the world. Amazing!


DVD of Sandra Waldron’s Memorial Service

October 16, 2011

I previously posted a tribute to Sandra Waldron, wife of evangelist Bob Waldron, on Leon’s Message Board which you may see here.

Bob and Sandra Waldron

I have recently received a DVD of the memorial service for Sandra, conducted by Bob Waldron and myself, in Athens, AL, on Tues., Sept. 13, 2011.

Bob requested that I make this available for those who would be interested. When I converted the DVD for uploading, it was rendered into three parts, which are here below in consecutive order: