Devotional Readings, Reflections on Israel

Reflections on Israel – Matthew 16

Just returned from a wonderful trip to Israel. We had perfect weather and experienced the rich greenness of the countryside that they enjoy for only a few weeks every spring.

When I have time I may post some of my wife’s commentary on our trip and some of the 3,300 pictures we took. In the mean time, I am going to refocus my Bible readings comments on reflections of experiences that are brought to mind as I read my daily Ten Lists readings.
One of the benefits of actually visiting Israel is that these words and places in the Bible are actually experienced in real life. And the descriptions in the commentaries take on real meaning.
This has already begun, with just today’s opening reading in Matthew 16.
As always I encourage your reading the text in the KJV and finding the link on Bible Gateway to Max McLean’s reading. Which for this text is here….
These two verses popped out of my regular Bible reading schedule today.
Thought you might enjoy the insight.

Mat 16:13  When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
Mat 15:39  And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.

It’s amazing how much richness is to gleamed from our trip. And this is just from opening my Bible to the next daily reading……I pray you all have similar experiences.


Just to clarify use of the word coasts…not a bad way to describe it, we drove along the coasts of the lake where they walked and then up into that remote region. The KJV is not referring to the ocean, and now that we have seen it and experienced it the verses are very rich.

Cesarea Philippi – There were two cities in Judea called Caesarea. One was situated on the borders of the Mediterranean (See the notes at Act 8:40), and the other was the one mentioned here. This city was greatly enlarged and ornamented by Philip the tetrarch, son of Herod, and called Caesarea in honor of the Roman emperor, Tiberius Caesar. To distinguish it from the other Caesarea the name of Philip was added to it, and it was called Caesarea Philippi, or Caesarea of Philippi. It was situated in the boundaries of the tribe of Naphtali, at the foot of Mount Hermon. It is now called Panias or Banias, and contains (circa 1880’s) about 200 houses, and is inhabited chiefly by Turks. The word “coasts” here now usually applied to land in the vicinity of the sea – means “borders” or “regions.” He came into the part of the country which appertained to Cesarea Philippi. He was passing northward from the region of Bethsaida, on the coasts of Magdala Mat 15:39, where the transactions recorded in the previous verses had occurred. Barnes

We have here a private conference which Christ had with his disciples concerning himself. It was in the coasts of Cesarea Philippi, the utmost borders of the land of Canaan northward; there in that remote corner, perhaps, there was less flocking after him than in other places, which gave him leisure for this private conversation with his disciples. Note, When ministers are abridged in their public work, they should endeavour to do the more in their own families. Henry


Subject: From the Matthew 16:13 verse comments in John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi,…. The towns that were in the neighbourhood of this city; which city went by several names before, as Leshem, Jos 19:47 which being taken by the Danites, they called it Dan; hence we read of דקיסריון דן, “Dan, which is Caesarea” (b). It was also called Paneas, from the name of the fountain of Jordan, by which it was situated; and which Pliny says (c) gave the surname to Caesarea; and hence it is called by Ptolomy (d) Caesarea Paniae; and by the name of Paneas it went, when Philip the (e) tetrarch rebuilt it, and called it Caesarea, in honour of Tiberius Caesar; and from his own name, Philippi, to distinguish it from another Caesarea, of which mention is made in the Acts of the Apostles, built by his father Herod, and so called in honour of Augustus Caesar; which before bore the name of Strato’s tower. The Misnic doctors speak of two Caesareas (f), the one they call the eastern, the other the western Caesarea. Now, as Mark says, whilst Christ and his disciples were in the way to these parts; and, as Luke, when he had been praying alone with them,

Caesarea Philippi, Dan, Pan, Magdala, and Mt. Hermon, all are places we saw and experienced.

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