The Chronological Gospel –

Jesus’ Galilean Ministry


Random Walk in a Gallery of Religious Art, Step 15: Mark 8:10-11; Matthew 15:39 – 16:13, Map – The Journeys of Christ
John 4:44-45, Mark 1:15, Luke 4:14b-15, John 4:46-54, Arrival in Galilee, and a miracle
Luke 4:16-30, Matthew 4:13-16, Rejection at Nazareth and Jesus’ new home in Capernaum
Luke 5:1-10a, Mark 1:16-20, Call of Peter, Andrew, James, and John (at the lakeside)
Mark 1:21-34, Matthew 8:17, A Sabbath in Capernaum
Mark 1:35-37, Luke 4:42b-43, Matthew 4:23-25, From town to town in Galilee
Luke 5:12, Mark 1:41-45, Luke 5:15-16, Good news, bad news, in Galilee
Mark 2:1-2, Luke 5:17-19, Mark 2:5-12, Healing of the paralytic (Capernaum)
Mark 2:13-16, Matthew 9:12-13, The call of Matthew Levi
Mark 2:18, Luke 5:34-39, A question about fasting (Capernaum)

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Random Walk in a Gallery of Religious Art, Step 15: Mark 8:10-11; Matthew 15:39, Map – The Journeys of Christ (3/20/15)

I sort of grew up thinking that Jesus spent his time in Galilee, with one trip to Jerusalem at the end. Although I gradually came to understand that my idea wasn’t correct, it was this study of the chronological Gospel that thoroughly disabused me of it. It would have been easier and faster to look at this map! The map shows four major journeys during Jesus’ public ministry. We know that any map of his travels will be a simplification, because several scriptures say, for example, that “And Jesus went about all Galilee” (Matthew 4:23), without specifying where.

Even so, a lot of places are on this map, and I’ve never been to any of them. The map is very useful in visualizing where Jesus went, how far he traveled (on foot), or where in the world he was when he got to Magdala (also called Magadan).

Previous Step. Next Step.
Journeys of Christ. Click to enlarge.
"Journeys of Christ" from the Thomas family Bible, now in a private collection of a family member.


John 4:44-45, Mark 1:15, Luke 4:14b-15, John 4:46-54, Arrival in Galilee, and a miracle (3/10/14)

Any Jews who could make the trip had gone to Jerusalem for the Passover, and while they were there they had heard Jesus teach and had seen him cleanse the Temple and perform miracles. He was the man of the hour. When he arrived in the backwater of Galilee, naturally they were delighted and welcomed him eagerly.

Jesus was skeptical about their motives, however, because he knows that we have a tendency to believe most strongly when we have just seen or are in immediate need of a miracle. Fortunately for us, Jesus often puts our needs ahead of our motives when he decides to help us.

Luke 4:16-30, Matthew 4:13-16, Rejection at Nazareth and Jesus’ new home in Capernaum (3/11/14)

Public opinion is fickle. The people of Nazareth were glad to have Jesus come back and visit. The home-town boy had made good and was famous for what he had said and done in Jerusalem and Cana – he had been preachin’ there. Unfortunately, when he began to speak, he immediately started meddlin’. (Preachin’ is when you step on my neighbor’s toes. Meddlin’ is when you step on my toes.) They were offended, and Jesus left Nazareth to travel further north (see C3 and B3 on the map).


Luke 5:1-10a, Mark 1:16-20, Call of Peter, Andrew, James, and John (at the lakeside) (3/12/14)

We learned earlier that Jesus had met Peter, Andrew, Nathaniel, and most likely John and James while he was down in Judea. Some of them apparently returned to Galilee with him when he went to the wedding at Cana (John 2:2), and some of them apparently were in Jerusalem with him during the Passover (John 2:22). (I say “apparently” because the disciples who went to Cana and Jerusalem with him are not named.) They weren’t officially called to be his disciples until a little bit later, however, as we read today. They had had some time to consider all that they had seen, and when Jesus decided it was time for them to join him, they literally dropped everything to follow him.


Mark 1:21-34, Matthew 8:17, A Sabbath in Capernaum (3/13/14)

It’s interesting that the first reaction of the people of Capernaum wasn’t surprise that Jesus was able to cure people. Their first reaction was amazement that he spoke with such authority … that even foul spirits would obey him and leave demoniacs and that ill people would be cured. The religious teachers of Jesus’ day rarely said anything on their own authority. Instead, they nearly always quoted some former teacher, or maybe two or more former teachers who contradicted each other. Someone who spoke with authority was amazing.


Mark 1:35-37, Luke 4:42b-43, Matthew 4:23-25, From town to town in Galilee (3/14/14)

News about Jesus spread like wildfire, and everyone who heard about him wanted to be near him. It’s quite likely that most of those who wanted to be near him wanted something from him – miraculous cures, mostly, at this stage. Some wanted to see what all the excitement was about. Some wanted to hear what he had to say about the good news of the kingdom of God.

Luke 5:12, Mark 1:41-45, Luke 5:15-16, Good news, bad news, in Galilee (3/17/14)

Jesus had been going from town to town in Galilee, teaching in the synagogues. He also did a lot of healing, and this attracted many of the local people wherever he went. The leper whom Jesus healed on one occasion, however, was so excited that he told everyone he saw – even though Jesus had expressly instructed him not to do that. Now people started coming from everywhere, in such great numbers that Jesus couldn’t even enter the towns without being mobbed by admirers and supplicants. This is one of those good news, bad news situations. Lots of people were hearing about Jesus, but there were so many of them that most of them couldn’t hear him.

Mark 2:1-2, Luke 5:17-19, Mark 2:5-12, Healing of the paralytic (Capernaum) (3/18/14)

If you’ve ever been sick or in an accident, you know that emergency personnel are determined to get you to the hospital, no matter what obstacles they face in the way of narrow doors, steep stairways, overcrowded rooms, or uncooperative bystanders. Huge crowds had followed Jesus out into the desert, so he apparently decided that he may as well go on back to town. A crowd gathered immediately, although on this occasion he was teaching, not healing. The door was impassible, and anyone who had a spot to listen from refused to give it up.

Undeterred, four men decided that it was easier to carry their friend over the crowd than through it, and they hauled him up to the roof, made a hole through the tiles, and lowered their friend down in front of Jesus. Then, seeing their faith, Jesus forgave the man’s sins. Never underestimate your power to support others when they need help from God!

Mark 2:13-16, Matthew 9:12-13, The call of Matthew Levi (3/19/14)

Why have I always thought that Levi, also named Matthew, was in Jerusalem when Jesus called him? Probably because I didn’t read carefully; it’s clear that he lived and worked in Capernaum. Levi immediately gave a party for his friends – more tax collectors and sinners – so that they could also meet Jesus and his other disciples. The scribes and Pharisees were quick to find fault with Jesus for going to the party.

I sort of wonder how they knew he was there, if they were so “righteous” that they’d never associate with Matthew and his friends. I need to worry about my own behavior, and let you and God worry about yours.


Mark 2:18, Luke 5:34-39, A question about fasting (Capernaum) (3/20/14)

Jesus brought fresh ideas to the question of what our relationship to God ought to be. One of the great things about reading more than one translation is that you get more than one insight into the original Hebrew or Greek text. Most English translations use the English word parable for the Greek word parabolay. That’s just fine if you grew up in the Church and you know what a parable is. It’s not so fine if you are a new believer – what’s a “parable,” anyway? The Weymouth New Testament has “figurative language.” Some of the modern basic-English translations use illustrations, sayings, or in a story. Even for experienced Bible readers like you and me, those translations give us a fresh idea of what it meant for Jesus to speak in parables.


More of The Chronological Gospel

Birth Announcements and Early Lives of Jesus and John the Baptist
Early Ministries of Jesus and John the Baptist
Jesus’ Early Ministry
Jesus’ Galilean Ministry
Sabbath Controversies
The Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Plain
John the Baptist
Signs and Parables
Miracles and Mission Trips
Bread of Life
Miracles and Meanings
Transfiguration and Teachings
To Jerusalem for the Festival of Tabernacles
Some Results of Luke’s Research
Light
More of Luke’s Research
On the Road Again
The Raising of Lazarus
Holy Week: Palm Sunday and Monday
Holy Week: Tuesday, Parables and Questions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 1, Discussions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 2, Be Ready!
Holy Week: Thursday Part 1, Jesus' Celebration of the Passover
Holy Week: Thursday Part 2, Jesus' Farewell Discourse
Holy Week: Friday Part 1, Jesus' Arrest and Two Informal Trials
Holy Week: Friday Part 2, More Trials
Holy Week: Friday, Part 3, and Saturday, Jesus' Death and Burial
The Empty Tomb
Final Appearances of Jesus Prior to Pentecost

Copyright 2014, 2015, 2016 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. Scripture readings are from the Weymouth New Testament (1912). This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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