John 4:43-46, NIV

43 After the two days he left for Galilee. 44 (Now Jesus himself
had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own
country.) 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed
him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the
Passover Feast, for they also had been there. 46 Once more
he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water
into wine.



February 8, 2011
Galilee was the green part of the territory claimed by the Jewish
people. It bordered the western side of the Sea of Galilee and
spread inland (north,west and south) about 20-25 miles, but not
quite all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. Nazareth, Cana and
Capernaum were all in Galilee. Going north from Sychar, Jesus
and his disciples would have come first to Nazareth, then Cana.
From there it would have been another 15 miles farther, going
eastward, to the seaport town of Capernaum.

Nazareth was the hometown of Jesus, the place where his mother,
brothers and sisters still lived. Cana was mentioned in John,
chapter 2, the little village where Jesus and his mother attended
a wedding and Jesus turned their water into wine. The fisherman
and disciple, Simon Peter, had a home in Capernaum. Within a
radius of just a few miles from Capernaum is where much of
Jesus' ministry took place.

In the first chapter of John, we heard Nathanael's opinion of
Nazareth--nothing good ever came from there! In today's text
we read that Jesus may have shared similar thoughts. He got
no respect from his hometown. He had grown up there,
everyone knew his parents and siblings.

Had Jesus been a football player, things would have been
different. Hometown folks love their athletes who excel and
gain national attention. But in religious circles, we tend not to
be as affirming of our success stories! All those preachers who
look so good on TV, are not so much loved back home where
everyone knows what they really are! Our reluctance to praise
those who excel and move up into authority positions within
our churches could be explained in many ways. But sometimes
it simply reflects our mistrust and suspicions, even the fact that
religious people often feel jealous of those who
lead, write books, or gain media attention.
Jesus avoided Nazareth
on this trip, just as he had withdrawn from the region 
of the
Jordan River when people started comparing him to John the
Baptist 
and counting up to see which one had the most converts.
Jesus didn't play 
those games. Those were not the battles God
sent him to engage.

One more thing to recognize in this passage. The people of Galilee
had seen Jesus in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, which was an
annual event. All Galilean families who were able made this trip
faithfully in the late winter or early spring. As a child Jesus' family
went every year, and Jesus continued that practice throughout
his ministry.

John's Gospel highlights these annual festivals, beginning with
the year Jesus entered the Temple in Jerusalem and upset the
business of the merchants, scattering their wares and money all
over the courtyard. One way we have of determining a time frame
for the ministry of Jesus is to count the times he attended the
Passover in Jerusalem. The Gospel writer, John, does a better
job of this than Matthew, Mark and Luke did.

So as Jesus enters Galilee, it's probably the ending of the first
year of his 3-year ministry. After the Passover - still spring. The
people who saw him pass by, welcomed him because they
liked what they had seen of him in Jerusalem at the recent
Passover.


                                                                  More journal entries


December 7, 2001

Verse 44 is a curious verse--just stuck in there. No honor in one's
own country. Were they by-passing Nazareth?

The people of Galilee welcomed him because they had been
in Jerusalem during the Passover and felt all the excitement as
they heard the chatter about Jesus throwing the money men out
of the Temple. That was way back in John 2:15, before Nicodemus
and the woman at the well. Also at the Passover Feast they had
seen Jesus do miraculous signs. So naturally people where glad
to see him and expectant of watching Jesus do more signs. As
of yet we do not know if those signs were acts of healings.


December 6, 1982

Again a time for making decisions--choosing which way to go,
what towns, which people. Jesus went back to Galilee, the home
of all of his disciples, except one.

Jesus separated from the Samaritan village while his popularity
was very high there. He split with John the Baptist and John's
disciples along the banks of the Jordan River because statistics
were becoming a consuming issue.

How was Jesus thought of in Jerusalem these days? There were
no public opinion polls back then. How many times did he travel
back and forth? So far with his disciples--one round trip.

His family hasn't been mentioned lately. Were they at odds?
Jesus didn't go home to Nazareth, deliberately stayed away from
his hometown. People did not receive him as anything special
there! Yet Jesus needed to be believed in order to perform
miracles.

He did not need to be affirmed in order to do God's will. If he
needed
affirmation, he would have stayed in Sychar. Probably
one of Jesus' greatest temptations was to enjoy his popularity
and be proud of his ability to draw and please the crowds. But
he always knew that his power came from God. How could he
be so level-leaded, so unmoved by his power, so obedient to
God at all costs, so wise, so devoted to his Father, so uncorrupted
by his surroundings?

True greatness is in humility and service that comes through
loving devotion to God. Faithfulness--how could he be so faithful
and steadfast? Was he really tempted like we are? Matthew's
account of Jesus' temptations sounds so other worldly. Was he
ever tempted by earthly power, and love, lust, pride, greed,
to seek life apart from God?

He must have been tempted. He prayed often and never missed
the mark. How beautiful faithfulness is!

The people received him with open arms. That's real nice but
tricky to handle without sinning. Success is just as easy a target
for sin as failure is. Just as with poverty and wealth--Is it easier
to be faithful to Christ as a rich man or a poor man?

The key is in desire. Wanting God alone and above anything and
everything else. Then you shall have your heart's desire.
Becoming pure in heart, facing one direction and going that way
with your whole heart. I am learning this lesson. I've heard it,
many times before, but now I know it for myself.

Help me share your love with the people I meet today. Bless all
who love you this day and all who want to love you but don't
know it yet.


December 7, 1982

They received him with open arms. Oh that people had still
received him with open arms when he was falsely accused,
arrested and sentenced to death. Oh that people would still
receive him with open arms, not for his signs, but out of loving
devotion. Human love is imperfect, but it's all we have and
God accepts it.

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