When most of us hear the name “Magdala,” if we think of anything we might possibly connect this city’s name with the New Testament’s Mary the Magdalene, also translated as Mary of Magdala. But the ruins of this ancient city tells us a lot about faithfulness in the face of defeat.

During the the last century “BC” and the first century “AD,” Jews chaffed under Roman rule. Sure, some made off pretty well working with the Romans, but many yearned for the kind of self-governing independence that their people had been promised – but then squandered by their ancestors in the desire for a king. A couple minor would-be insurrectionists had been crushed over the years, but they were always just a minor inconvenience.

By the latter half of the first century AD the zealots frustration was hitting a fever pitch.

The result was the Great Revolt.

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Hippos (Sussita National Park, Israel)

Laughing at Legion

God seems to delight in a subversive humor that puts tyrants in their place.