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John 2:12, NIV
12 After this he [Jesus] went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.
November 20, 2010
Jesus with his disciples and family members went down toward the Sea of Galilee to stay a few days in Capernaum. Where would a group of that size find lodging? Were they all included among his disciples at this early stage? Or were they just traveling together for awhile before Jesus stopped in Capernaum and his family members continued on to Nazareth or wherever they were living? Peter had a house in Capernaum. Did he provide hospitality, using every available space?
John records no details. But I am stopping here because in the next verses Jesus is in Jerusalem at the temple and it's a very rancorous scene. Before I take that on, I want to pause and reflect on how John put his Gospel together.
The Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, give a lot of space to Jesus' Galilean ministry. Not so with John. In John's Gospel, Jesus goes frequently to the temple in Jerusalem. If you view a map of Palestine at that time, you can see that Galilee is the countryside to the north and borders the Galilean Sea to the east. Just south of Galilee is a territory called Samaria. And below that is the region known as Judea with the focal point being Jerusalem. All along the western shoreline of Palestine is the Mediterranean Sea.
Jerusalem--the city of David--was built on a hill; anyone going there went up to Jerusalem, it didn't matter from which direction you were approaching. Jewish people made the pilgrimage up to Jerusalem at least once a year, most importantly at Passover time.
In the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus does most of his teaching in Galilee. In John's Gospel he does much of it in Jerusalem. The folks in Galilee were small-town, hard-working people who preferred to avoid the business and prestige of the big city. The main reason they went to Jerusalem was to worship at the temple, which Jesus called his Father's house.
The people of Galilee received Jesus gladly; in Jerusalem Jesus confronted the leadership of the Jewish religion, and they were much less friendly. In John's Gospel, throughout the three year ministry of Jesus, the "water" and the "wine" were constantly in tension with each other, sloshing around, pushing back, creating havoc, spilling out and trickling into all the highways and byways where Jesus left a footprint.
More journal entries
November 22, 2010
Jesus went down to Capernaum before he went up to Jerusalem. The up and down has more to do with the topography of the land than the directions of north and south. Capernaum was north; Jerusalem was south. Throughout this gospel it seems like Jesus went to Jerusalem to confront, and then returned to Galilee to escape the conflict he had caused. The crowds in Galilee watched and listened to Jesus in amazement. The people associated with the temple in Jerusalem were just plain angry.
November 26, 2010Verses 2 and 12 portray the family of Jesus as having close ties to Jesus. That does not continue much beyond this point. And it makes us wonder what his brothers and sisters thought of him. Actually his sisters are not mentioned here. We learn there were sisters from the other Gospels, where the names of the brothers are disclosed but the sisters remain nameless.
Jesus was the eldest son, the one who would step into his father's shoes when Joseph died. Matthew 13:55 has the hometown folks referring to Jesus as the carpenter's son. Mark 6:3 describes the same scene and records the question, "Isn't this the carpenter?" So when Joseph died, Jesus would have taken up his father's tools and used what he had learned from Joseph in order to provide for the family.
We know nothing about how Jesus circumvented the traditional responsibilities of the eldest son when, at age 30, he set out to fulfill the life plan set out for him before his birth by his Heavenly Father. It appears that his earthly family thought they might fit into a supporting role, but that seems to end after verse 12. New wine needed new wine skins--that would apply not only to religious leadership and traditions, but to family relationships as well.