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Tabgha: Restoration of Peter

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Places of Interest

Tabgha: Restoration of Peter




1. Tabgha is located on the northwest side of the Sea of Galilee.


2. There are 7 springs found in this area and provided one of the best places for fishing around the sea. 


3. Some of the springs provided warm sulfuric water that caused the fish to gather here. It was also used for health purposes, and many came from far away to find healing and relief in its waters.


4. Waters from these springs were also taken to nearby fields and villages via canals.


5. This site is the traditional place where it’s believed Christ fed the 5,000. The modern Church of the Multiplication stands on the site of a 4th-century church that has had several renovations throughout the centuries. In 1982 the church that was here was replaced by the modern Church of the Multiplication.


6. However, we don’t believe Tabgha is the biblical place for the feeding of the 5,000 for the following reasons:


  • Scripture says Jesus and His disciples were headed to Bethsaida to a desolate place (Mark 6:31; Luke 9:10). Tabgha is in a very populated area and on the opposite side of the sea from Bethsaida, which was on the eastern side of the sea.

  • The large population area was from Tiberias to Capernaum (the northwestern side), the deserted area was on the northeastern and eastern side of the sea in the Bethsaida region.

  • Bethsaida was a fishing village on the northeastern side of the sea.

  • Immediately after feeding the 5,000, Jesus ordered His disciples to cross over to the other side of the sea (Matt. 14:22).

  • While the disciples were crossing over to the other side is when a strong storm arose. Jesus walked on water (Peter attempted to as well), and Jesus calmed the storm.

  • The storm seems to have changed the course of their destination as Scripture says that they ended up arriving in the area of Gennesaret (Matt. 14:34–36).

  • Gennesaret is located on the northwestern side of the sea where all the population is.

  • Gennesaret is less than 2 miles (3 Km.) south of Tabgha. If the miracle happened at Tabgha, going from Tabgha to Gennesaret wouldn’t be crossing over the other side of the sea as both towns are close-by to each other.

  • After Christ arrived at Gennesaret, many heard he had arrived, and a large multitude gathered for healing. If Christ had just been in the area of Tabgha, it wouldn't make sense that a large crowd would gather again right after Christ had just been there.

  • For these reasons, we believe the best biblical location for the feeding of the 5,000 is just south of Bethsaida in an open flat area. It seems to fit the text and the geography of the land best.


7. Even though Tabgha might not be the location of the feeding of the 5,000, it is a great place to reflect and commemorate this miracle. The important thing is that the miracle really happened, not that we get the place exactly right.


8. It’s also the site where it’s believed Christ restored Peter after His resurrection. The Church of the Primacy of St. Peter marks the place where this event took place. The church today was built in 1933 and incorporated parts of an earlier 4th-century church. A building made of black basalt was built in 1934 and commemorates this place.


9. The restoration of Peter will be the focus of our attention at this site.


Historical Background


1. The disciples had returned to their home towns on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ in Jerusalem.


2. They undoubtedly felt very depressed, lonely, and as if their whole world had come to an end.


3. Their beloved Master had been crucified, and they were left wondering what would happen now.


4. They probably called into question how they had spent their past 3 ½ years following Christ.


5. Peter especially felt depressed and spiritually sick. His last contact with Christ was that of hearing the cock crow in declaration to the fact that he had just denied his Lord and Master 3 times after he had just moments earlier said he would follow Him even to death.


Places of Interest (Please See Maps Above)


1. Church of the Multiplication


2. Stone inside the Church of the Multiplication upon which tradition holds that Christ multiplied the fish and bread.


3. Church of the Primacy of St. Peter.


4. Stone inside the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter upon which tradition holds that Christ fed the disciples after His resurrection and where Christ restored Peter.


5. Beach close-by to the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter.


6. Heart-shaped stones by the beach. 


7. Rock Monument with carved Cross and verse.


8. Mount of Beatitudes


Restoration of Peter in the Bible


1. After Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, the disciples went back to fishing like old times. 
John 21:1–3: Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberius. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together [8 disciples in all]. 3 "I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.


2. Jesus appears to the disciples.
John 21:4–14: Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "No," they answered. 6 He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. 7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread [in John 18:18 Peter denied Christ by a charcoal fire]. 10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught." 11 Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153 [according to Hebrew alphabetics, this number meant “I Am God”], but even with so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish [same food as the feeding of the 5,000]. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.


3. Jesus restores Peter.
John 21:15–17: When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." 16 Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." 17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.”


4. This encounter was like the first time Christ called Peter to be His disciple. 
Luke 5:1–11: On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." 5 And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word, I will let down the nets." 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

Faith Lesson from Tabgha


1. Peter’s original calling to be a disciple and his restoration follow the same miracle pattern. Christ did this on purpose because He wanted Peter to remember his roots and beginning. 


2. Christ was the one who reached out to Peter and took the initiative to restore him.

3. Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him 3 times because Peter denied Him 3 times.

4. God realizes we are human and make mistakes.

5. The main thing God looks for in restoration is a spirit of repentance and a contrite, humble heart.

6. Am I in need of restoration in some way?

7. Do I understand that God is more interested in my restoration with Him than I probably am?


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