Did Jesus Really Jump Off This Cliff?
Location - Nazareth
Map Coordinates - 32.681618, 35.299815
This mountain is called Mount Kedumim, or in Arabic, Mount Qafzeh, but we commonly refer to it as Mount Precipice. This is a cliff just to the south of the modern city of Nazareth, overlooking the vast and fertile Jezreel valley that runs across the entire width of Galilee, from the Mediterranean Sea, all the way to the border of the country of Jordan. Many of Israel's farm produce, vegetables and fruits, come from this fertile valley. In this valley are the ruins of Megiddo, Mount Tabor (the traditional site of the Transfiguration of Jesus), and the village of Nain, where Jesus resurrected the son of a widow. It’s a valley that Jesus had to cross many times as He made His way from His home in Nazareth to Jerusalem three times a year for the Jewish feasts.
Was this the cliff over which a mob tried to cast Jesus?
According to an older (yet debunked) tradition, this is the cliff over which an angry mob tried to throw Jesus after He infuriated them in the synagogue. Luke 4:29 reads, “And standing up they put Him out of the city and brought Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, to cast Him down headlong.”
One local legend says that on this spot Jesus leaped into the air when they tried to kill Him, and that He floated away from them, landing five-and-a-half miles away onto Mount Tabor just to the east. That is why the Arabic name for this mountain is Jebel Qafzeh, which is translated “mount of the leaping.” This legend probably started around the 8th century when a Byzantine convent was built on this mountain, the remains of which are still here.
Not too far to the north of Mount Precipice is the Church of Our Lady of the Fright, commemorating Mary’s fear as she watched a crowd try to kill Jesus.
There are three problems with the basic assumption that this is the site where this story took place.
1. It is much too far away from the ancient town of Nazareth to be considered a likely candidate. Mount Precipice is actually on the southern edge of the modern city of Nazareth, which is now quite large, but it’s not on the southern edge of the ancient village. In fact, it is very far from it.
2. It is a one-hour walk from the Synagogue Church where Jesus preached the sermon that made the local people so angry. The townspeople would most likely not have riotously escorted Jesus for almost an hour, and across such a distance, especially when there were other sheer cliffs within a short walk.
3. You will notice that no one would ever die by falling off of this peak. It is too gradual. If someone were to be thrown from this place, he might bruise his elbow, or twist his ankle, but he is not going to die from it, and certainly no one would be thrown headlong, or in other words, upside down. This means that we have to look for another cliff – one that is much closer to the original village of Nazareth.
Fortunately, that other cliff has been recently discovered, and it is very close to the Synagogue Church – the site of Nazareth’s ancient synagogue, just behind the old Maronite convent. It is only about 500 feet from the Synagogue Church, and in Jesus’ day it presented a sheer drop of about sixty feet.