The “Me First” Movement: A Lesson From Caesarea, Israel

The “Me First” Movement: A Lesson From Caesarea, Israel

We have “Black Lives Matter”, and then the “Me Too” movement. Long before these, there was the “Me First” movement. It’s as old as Eden. A classic example of the “Me First” movement is a stunning archaeological dig in the ancient city of Caesarea, Israel. Becky and I love to visit this site every time we are in Israel.

The ancient seaport city of Caesarea was built by Herod the Great. Herod was not only a gifted (albeit cruel leader), but an aggressive visionary for architecture. Two words sum up King Herod: a builder and a butcher.

Caesarea was an incredible city, much of it was built out of marble. This is all the more amazing because marble is not native to Israel. This means it had to be imported from Turkey and other near by countries. Caesarea was a first class Roman city in all respects. It included a large Roman theatre, hippodrome (for chariot races), public baths, a massive aqueduct that brought in fresh water from Mt Carmel (10 miles away), and a large artificial harbor with the latest invention of the day – concrete!

The population in the first century was around 50,000. Caesarea is the city where Pilate lived and where Paul was imprisoned for several years. It is also where Cornelius lived–to whom Peter brought the gospel (that was a very powerful moment in church history – when the gospel jumped to the Gentiles). All of this is part of the story of the Bible: God’s promise to become famous among all peoples.

King Herod built Caesarea to be a first class Roman city. The lesson of Caesarea is this: when man builds to his glory, it will eventually fall apart. Herod built Caesarea to his own glory to stand into the ages. But it did not. Today, it is simply an ancient city in ruins. What a powerful reminder that only when we build on the Lord do we have an eternal inheritance. Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” What are you building on? And who are you building for?

by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor