When we talk about walking where Jesus walked, we are usually referring to the places where Jesus held His public ministry, which was mostly in Galilee. In Israel, there are two specific places where you can actually trace His steps. The first is the southern steps leading into the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The original steps are still there, and Jesus undoubtedly walked those same steps into the temple. The second is the newly excavated city of Magdala on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. The ruins of the first-century synagogue have been excavated. We know Jesus was in that city, and we can reasonably assume He went to the synagogue. In each of those two areas, you can truly say you “walked where Jesus walked.”
My favorite place in Israel, though, is the Sea of Galilee, and when you go in a boat you get a feel for Jesus’ ministry in the Gospels. From that vantage point, you realize how much of His three-year ministry took place in a small piece of geography. The lone city that remains, Tiberias, is larger than it was in the first century, but the landscape of the sea and nearby hills remains very much like it would have been in Jesus’ day. While I would highly recommend a trip to Israel, I am thankful that we don’t have to travel there to find Jesus. He is clearly revealed to us in the pages of His Word. In the introduction to his Gospel, John writes, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (1:14).
John says that while no one has ever seen God, we are given an up-close record of “the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father” (1:18). John’s Gospel emphasizes the deity of Jesus, reminding us throughout that we are able to know the Savior and Messiah. And through faith in Him, we can also be in a personal relationship with God (20:31).
John lets us witness Jesus’ interaction with individuals. We walk in Jesus’ footsteps, seeing His humanity, hunger, tiredness, sorrow, and death. And, at the end of John’s Gospel, we learn that Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, has been resurrected and offers this life to all His followers.
John’s Gospel allows us to walk where Jesus walked, and to find Jesus, no matter where we are.