The ancient town of Magdala has other names:
- Magadan in Matthew 15:39
“After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.”
- Dalmanutha in Mark 8:10
“He got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.”
Magdala is situated at the base of Mount Arbel, west of the Sea of Galilee, in between Tiberias and Capernaum. It was once a busy trade center with fishermen, business owners, shoppers, residents, and worshippers. Here is a place where our Jewish Messiah Jesus likely taught and healed many people, including a woman from this town called Mary Magdalene. Mark 16:9 says that Jesus cast seven demons from her. Also she is the first one to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection.
The Empty Tomb
John 20: 1-10 “1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they have put Him.’ 3 So Peter and the other disciple left, and they were going to the tomb. 4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead, faster than Peter, and came to the tomb first; 5 and he stooped to look in, and saw the linen wrappings lying there; however he did not go in. 6 So Simon Peter also came, following him, and he entered the tomb; and he looked at the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings but folded up in a place by itself. 8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb also entered then, and he saw and believed. 9 For they did not yet understand the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead. 10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes.”
In 2009, lying only 30cm beneath the surface was the oldest synagogue excavated in Galilee. It is one of seven first century synagogues discovered in Israel. Coins dated 29CE were excavated, which supports the thought that this synagogue was probably in use during the days of Jesus’ public ministry
Ministry in Galilee
Matthew 4:23 “Jesus was going about in all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness among the people.”
A great discovery in the synagogue was a unique Magdala Stone. It was likely to have been used to hold the Torah. On the front side of the Stone is a carved image of a seven-branched menorah. “It is currently the oldest carved image of the Second Temple’s seven-branched menorah in a public place.” It is similar to the menorah image found on a wall in the Burnt House of the Herodian Quarter in Jerusalem, indicating that the carver had actually seen the authentic Menorah in the Second Temple (quote is from Biblical Archaeology Review on 8/31/2020). Click here for more information.
The mosaics and frescoes seen in this synagogue indicate the Greco-Roman influence in the first century.
This town has a large marketplace with over 20 rooms for selling everything from pottery, woven goods, objects related to fishing to fresh products such as bread, fish, etc.
*Photo was contributed by Dr. Rasmussen.
This marketplace has at least 40 water installations, narrow rectangular wells, and small plastered pools. Since Magdala was a prosperous fishing village during the first century, and the Greek name “Tarichaea” means “place of preserved fish,” this was probably where fish were processed and preserved for shipment to other regions.
*Photo was contributed by Dr. Rasmussen.
duc in altum
The Duc In Altum is Latin for “Put out into the Deep”. These are the words Jesus spoke to his disciples after the unsuccessful night of fishing (Luke 5:4). This center commemorates the life of the Jewish Messiah Jesus. It is a spiritual center to provide a place for meditation, personal reflection, prayer, and worship.
One of the disciple paintings had scratches on his foot. Why? The volunteer who worked there told us that a dog, which passed away a few years ago, always came inside and ONLY scratched this painting. And whose painting is this disciple? Ironically, it is Judas the traitor!