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, 2010
Verses 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.

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