Israel, home of Jewish and Christian beginnings, acknowledges the deep and rich historical value of the land, as well as what lies buried beneath the surface. So, in effort to rescue any artifacts from certain destruction during construction of new development, Israel requires archaeologists to check out any historically significant land before construction can begin. And when archaeologists began to dig on the 20-acre plot of land in the town of Migdal on the western side of the Sea of Galilee (purchased by Reverand Juan Solana and destined to become a Christian pilgrim resort) they were shocked to find a Galilean trademark of Jesus’ ministry.
Breaking ground in 2009, archaeologists with the Isreal Antiquities Authority began to dig, and expecting little, were floored when they found the remains of a synagogue that experts estimate to be originally constructed in 1 AD.
Fox News says that earlier this year the synagogue was described as the only one yet discovered from Jesus’ period of ministry in Galilee. Matthew 4:23 places the connection to Jesus,
“Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.”
The Wall Street Journal says that the town of Migdal was named for the ancient town of Magdala, where Mary Magdalene is reportedly from, and as excavation of the area continued, it became clear that the city wasn’t named for Magdala, it was Magdala.
Haaretz News says experts claim that it was probable Jesus preached at the synagogue, but archaeologist Dina Gorni who worked on the dig was a little more conservative in a 2012 interview with the Global Mail.
Her notion is that, since the synagogue only holds about 120 in a community that was comprised of thousands of citizens, that this synagogue was a special “outsider” community that was just on the edge of the Jewish village. However that may back up the claim for Jesus having taught here, since it is well-documented that Jesus was not really involved with the main Jewish community, but preferred to live aside “away from the crowds”.