Bet Shean

20 Feb

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. (Romans 1:16a KJV)

   A group of tourists follow their guide up a long trail to the top of a hill. As they walk, they see remnants of a Roman road which led to Nazareth and pieces of pottery – all signs of a civilization from long ago. Some wonder if this is all they will see. Others anticipate more to come. The top of the hill is reached, and below the group is an impressive archaeological find – an ancient Roman city known as Bet Shean.

   Tourists to this site can see columns, an amphitheatre, homes, all sorts of buildings being unearthed and painstakingly pieced back together. Many of the places discovered are examples of the perversion that permeated the Roman culture, a culture that had self-indulgence at the core of its being. Here was a city that, because of its location in Israel, was influencing all who passed through it as well as those who lived there. Bet Shean, “The House Somewhere There,” was a place where one could engage in the worldly pleasures of the city, then hypocritically return to his/her Jewish customs, or choose to take a stand and live solely for God.

   No place is this clearer in the excavations than in a bathhouse that was used for selfish pleasure. A special niche in a wall has been uncovered. On this niche a faded red cross was discovered. It is surmised that possibly a Christian slave under Roman captivity painted this cross on the wall as a silent witness to the Lord Jesus and the power that enables one to live for Him even in the midst of such decadence.

   Bet Shean stands today as a reminder of the influence of the world on Christians. The choices are still the same – a life for self or for God, empowered by self or by El-Shaddai.

   As a singer stands on the stage of the amphitheatre below the tour group, The Lord’s Prayer is sung and heard by those seated as well as by some of the groups touring the other buildings. The singer’s voice gives words to this silent witness of a slave’s painted cross:

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen (Matthew 6:13b KJV)

   The singer and the slave have joined to testify that the only kingdom that will not crumble, will not be full of self, will not have to be pieced back together – the only kingdom worth living for – is the kingdom of El-Shaddai, the One who is our all-powerful God.

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One Response to “Bet Shean”

  1. Sean May 4, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    No posts since February. Where’s all the goodness?

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