Tabgha

Tabgha - Israel

Capernaum Tabgha Qumran Caves
Tabgha Israel

Tabgha - Israel

Tabgha is located in northern Israel on the northwestern shore of Lake of Gennesaret / Sea of Galiliee. Situated southwest of Capernaum, Tabgha is down the mountain from the alleged location of the sermon on the mount.

Up until 1948, Tabgha was a small town populated by Muslim and Christian Palestinians, all of whom were expelled by the Jewish militia, which flattened Tabgha during the Israeli War of Independence. Tabgha remains barren today except for the Church of the Multiplication, which was built in 1981 and is still operated by the Dominicans, a Roman Catholic order.

According to them, the Church of the Multiplication is the place where Jesus fed "five thousand men, besides women and children" with two fish and five barley loaves as mentioned below.

Do I believe Jesus fed thousands with two fish and five loaves?

I don't believe a baby can break bricks with his fist, but that Bruce Lee can. What's the point? We call something a "miracle" when someone does something that exceeds our estimation of his power. But our estimation can in fact be an underestimation. If Jesus is the Creator - "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him." (Colossians 1:16) - for Him to feed a few thousand people would have been a piece of cake.*

Now, do I believe that the black rock in this photo, taken inside the Church of the Multiplication, is where Jesus laid the two fish and five loaves to bless them as the clerks in the church's gift shop claimed?

Well, the Bible simply identifies the location of Jesus' feeding miracle as a "deserted place" (see below), there is no mention of him laying the food on anything, and there is no instance in the Bible of Jesus blessing or preaching from behind a rock.

When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.” But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (Matthew 14:13-21)

Travel Tip
If you wish to stock up on liquor during your trip, go up the hill from the Church of the Multiplication to the "gift" shop at the Church of the Beatitudes, built on the alleged location of Jesus' sermon on the mount and operated by Franciscans (another Roman Catholic order), for their wide selection.

Beatitudes Church

 In fact, booze accounts for well over half of their inventory. I asked the clerk (her hair is facing the camera) how she justifies hawking whiskey and vodka (bottom right) at a church, especially one that is supposed to commemorate Jesus' sermon on the mount. She replied, "We don't sell flask, so people cannot drink inside the church."

Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’' (Matthew 21:12-13)

* For more scientific evidences on this, watch and listen to a couple of former atheists. One is an MD and the other is a JD / former Legal Affairs Editor of Chicago Tribune.

Capernaum Qumran Caves