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Introduction to the New Testament: Gospel and Acts - Lesson 27

Withdrawal from Galilee (Part 1)

Jesus' ministry in Galilee took place in locations like Nazareth, Cana, the Sea of Galilee and other nearby towns and areas. As Jesus was departing from Galilee, he performed miracles and taught at specific places along the way.

Craig Blomberg
Introduction to the New Testament: Gospel and Acts
Lesson 27
Watching Now
Withdrawal from Galilee (Part 1)

Public Ministry

Part 10

V. Jesus' Withdrawal from Galilee (part 1)

A. Jesus' Ministry in Galilee

1. Jesus preaches in synagogue at Nazareth

2. Jesus heals in lower Galilee

3. Jesus returns from Jerusalem and heals in Cana of Galilee

4. Jesus crosses Sea of Galilee to country of Gerasenes

5. Jesus journeys into district of Tyre and Sidon

6. Jesus preaches in Decapolis

7. Jesus performs wonders near Bethsaida

8. Jesus preaches in district of Caesarea Philippi

B. Withdrawal from Galilee

1. Theologically in purity dispute (Mark 7:1-23)

2. Geographically (Mark 7:24-8:30)

a. Syrophoenician woman – enemy Gentiles included (7:24-30)

b. Mogilalos man in Decapolis – cf. Isaiah 35 (7:31-37)

c. 4,000 fed in Gentile territory – Jesus as bread of life (8:1-10)

d. Brief return to Galilee but only rejection (8:11-12)

e. Back across lake – yeast of hostile leaders (8:13-21)

f. Blind man healed in Bethsaida – another "doublet" (8:22-26)

g. Christology on road to Caesarea Philippi (8:27-30)


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  • Overview of the influences of the Persian, Greek and Roman Empires on the Jewish nation. 

  • A summary of the Jewish political and religious rulers and movements, and the tensions that arose between the Jews and the occupying Roman authorities.

  • Ancient philosophies and religious movements had a significant influence on peoples' beliefs and behavior in the first century. The influence of Rome and Greece was evident throughout the world. 

  • Religious groups like the Pharisees and Sadducees, and teachings of contemporary Judaism about the Messiah affected Jesus' teaching and ministry.

     

  • One of the major influences in the social structure in Israel during the first century was the relationship and interaction between Jews and Gentiles. Various Jewish groups had differing views on how they should interact among themselves and with Gentiles. (Dr. Blomberg did not provide us with the PowerPoint slides for this lecture.)

  • One of the major influences in the social structure in Israel during the first century was the relationship and interaction between Jews and Gentiles. Various Jewish groups had differing views on how they should interact among themselves and with Gentiles. (Dr. Blomberg did not provide us with the PowerPoint slides for this lecture.)

  • The Gospels are historically reliable documents. Some of the main arguments and pieces of evidence pointing to the historical reliability of the Gospels are given in this lecture.

  • Form criticism, or form history examines how tradition has changed and how it has stayed the same. 

  • The gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke have so many similarities that they are referred to as the "Synoptic Gospels." There is also material in each of these Gospels that make it distinctive from the other two.

  • It can be helpful to examine, from a literary perspective, the passages that record the encounters that Jesus had with Nicodemus, and the Samaritan woman.

  • In order to understand the message of the Gospel of Mark, it is helpful to understand who the author is, the approximate date it was written, the audience to whom it was written, and the major themes of the book. The content of the book can be divided into the first 8 chapters that focus on the life and ministry of Jesus and the last 8 chapters that focus on His death and resurrection.

  • In order to understand the message of the Gospel of Matthew, it is helpful to understand who the author is, the approximate date it was written, the audience to whom it was written, and the possible sources on which Matthew relied when he was writing. Matthew begins by recording genealogy of Jesus and some of the events surrounding his infancy. Jesus' public ministry began with HIs baptism by John the Baptist, temptation in the wilderness and calling of the disciples. His preaching included the Sermon on the Mount and parables which Matthew grouped together in the Gospel.

  • Examining the outline and structure of the Gospel of Luke reveals the main points and the focus of Luke's Gospel and the book of Acts. Luke and Matthew have some similarities as well as some elements that are distinctive.

  • Much of the material of the Gospel of John is unique, compared to the other 3 Gospel accounts. Some of John's account alternates between recording a sign that Jesus performs with a discourse about a certain subject. Chapter 12 to the end of the Gospel covers the final days of Jesus' life on earth.

  • Some scholars belief that historical evidence supports the Gospel accounts of Jesus' life, some think the historical evidence supports the inauthenticity of the Gospel accounts, and some think that the historical evidence is irrelevant. The different conclusions are due mainly to different presuppositions. It is possible to propose a probable time line of Jesus' life.

  • The Gospel accounts of Jesus' birth and early years of life show how He accurately fulfilled specific OT prophecies made hundreds of years earlier, and how His life was intertwined with that of John the Baptist. The beginning of John's Gospel is a testimony to Jesus' nature as being both fully God and fully human.

  • Locations in present day Israel that are related to Jesus' infancy and the beginning of His public ministry.

  • John the Baptist began his ministry before Jesus's public ministry. For a while their public ministries overlapped, then Jesus conducted the remainder of His public ministry without John the Baptist on the scene.

  • Turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana was one of the first miracles Jesus performed in His public ministry. He also had conversations with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman, and healed the nobleman's son.

  • The Sermon on the Mount is one of the main passages showing how Jesus defines the "Kingdom of God." He also calls the disciples, redefines the family, performs healings and exorcisms, and uses parables and pronouncements to teach about who God is and how He relates to humans.

  • Images of locations in present day Israel related to Jesus' early Galilean ministry.

  • The Sermon on the Mount shows how the teachings of the Kingdom of God relate to the OT Law. It also includes additional NT teachings and a model prayer.

  • Pictures of places in present day Israel related to Jesus' early Galilean ministry.

  • Understanding parables as a literary form helps us interpret them accurately. Jesus performed miracles in various contexts for specific purposes.

  • Locations in present day Israel related to parables Jesus said and places He performed miracles.

  • Jesus' ministry in Galilee took place in locations like Nazareth, Cana, the Sea of Galilee and other nearby towns and areas. As Jesus was departing from Galilee, he performed miracles and taught at specific places along the way.

  • One of the themes in John chapters 5-11 is how Jesus fulfills the Jewish festivals. He also uses metaphors, saying that he is the, “bread of life,” “light of the world,” “gate for the sheep” and others.

  • In Matthew chapter 18, Jesus gives a sermon on forgiveness and humility. 

  • Locations in present day Israel related to Jesus' ministry.

  • Does the Bible teach that we are to marry or that we are not to marry?

  • Passion Week in the life of Jesus includes his anointing in Bethany, triumphal entry into Jerusalem, cleansing of the temple, celebrating Passover, prayer and arrest in Gethsemane, crucifixion and resurrection.

  • Chronological order of the events of the Passion week of the ministry of Jesus.

  • The death and resurrection of Jesus are significant both historically and theologically.

  • Narration describing slide photographs of locations of events that took place during Passion Week.

  • Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Jewish Messiah. He was both fully God and fully man. Jesus taught about the kingdom of God and showed compassion to the people who were outcasts in society.

  • Acts was written as a continuation of the Gospel of Luke to record what the Holy Spirit was doing through the lives of followers of Christ in the early church. The gospel spread ethnically from Jews to Gentiles, and geographically from Jerusalem to the rest of the world.

  • Stephen challenged the Jewish leaders to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah. Paul's conversion was a key event in the history of the early church.

  • The discussion in the Jerusalem council in Acts chapter 15 was how Jews and gentiles could function together as the body of Christ.

  • Narrative describing pictures relating to places that were significant in the early church.

  • The book of Acts records events that happened during Paul's travels as he preached the gospel and established churches throughout Asia Minor and Europe.

This class studies issues of introduction for the four Gospels and Acts, and, using the English New Testament, provides a harmonistic study of the life of Christ with a focus on his essential teachings, the theology of evangelism, and the planting of the church as recorded in Acts.

 

Dr. Craig Blomberg
Introduction to the New Testament: Gospel and Acts
nt511-27
Withdrawal from Galilee (Part 1)
Lesson Transcript

 

This is the 27th lecture in the online series of lectures for understanding the Gospels and Acts, in complement with the textbook by Craig Blomberg’s Jesus and The Gospels: an Introduction and Survey

 

As we continue the survey of the Life of Christ, particularly as disclosed in Mark’s outline; the next phase is often called Jesus withdrawal from Galilee. It appears in Mark and Matthew, but it is the largest omission from Luke’s Gospel of Markan material and thus often is called by source critics Luke’s Great Omission. In addition to events that take place outside of Galilee to the north and to the east, we have Jesus briefly crossing back over the Lake only to depart from Galilee again. And we have a preface beginning at Mark 7:1 and parallel which can readily be thought of as Jesus’ theological withdrawal immediately prior to his actual geographical withdrawal. Mark 7:1-20 narrates yet another conflict story between Jesus and a group of Jewish leaders, which reflects the most serious break from conventional Judaism by Jesus thus far. What begins as a debate over ceremonial hand washing escalates to reflect the issue of kosher foods, and the short parable or metaphorical sayings by Christ that it is not what goes into a person but what comes out of them that defiles a person. In the second half of Mark 19 in a statement which modern translations often put in parentheses, we read in saying that Jesus declared all foods clean. This is almost certainly the comment of Mark as narrator with 20/20 hindsight, yet Jesus’ disciples did not immediately abandon the Kosher laws and indeed Peter required the three fold voice from heaven of unclean animals with God saying, rise and eat in Acts 10 in order to be persuaded that God was declaring all foods and indeed all people clean. But one should not be surprised that Jesus, himself, immediately departs from Jewish territory after this conflict and begins this segment of the Withdrawal from Galilee. 

 

The first map slides reminds us of the regions and communities that figure most prominently in this section and is a careful relief map drawn to scale. The second PowerPoint slide also contains a relief map with fewer locations on it, but instead with diagrams reflecting on possible sequences of Jesus itinerant ministry in Galilee and then beyond. One can see that his travel within the province is by no means adopting any definable pattern, but he makes a large ark of a portion of a circle as it were, around the northern and eastern perimeter of Israel. The next slide reflects on the theological significance of the Geographical portion of the withdrawal from Galilee; after noting the segment that we have just discussed in Mark 7:1-23.

 

The first narrated encounter involves Jesus and a Syro-Phoenician woman. Matthew calls her a Canaanite even though there had not been any Canaanites in the land for centuries. But the use of this archaic name reflects the ongoing enmity between Jesus and the inhabitants of the Promise Land. Whatever else is going on in this passage, it would seem that Jesus is baiting the woman as he does in order to draw out what he knew to be her tenacious way. Perhaps this was for the benefit of the disciples who are not prepared to give her any time, although he begins the conversation seeming like the typical chauvinistic Jewish male. He clearly ends it by granting a miraculous healing to the woman’s daughter and setting the stage for the disciples to similarly enact his revolutionary teaching about enemy love. 

 

Next, we come to the healing the deaf-mute, the one who could scarcely speak. Afterward, the four thousand are fed not far outside of Julius, much closer to Galilee but still in non-Israelite territory. Undoubtedly, the feeding of the four thousand corresponds so closely to the feeding of the five thousand, in order that the later might recall the former but with the different numbers of baskets, of left overs and the different words for baskets, fitting in with the different ethnic groups for whom the miracles were worked. To pick up Jesus’ term from the Capernaum Synagogue, he is demonstrating that he is the Bread of Life for both Jews and Gentiles. This is true that the account of the feeding of the five thousand occurs after Jesus crossed over the Sea of Galilee from Galilee. But there we read that many crowds followed him around the lake, so we could presume that he had a more Jewish audience with the five thousand. A brief return to Galilee leads only to his rejection there so that he is back across the lake again, talking and warning about the leaven or yeast of the Israelite leaders in route, condemning the leaders of a nation where one would have expected to receive the right response, then healing the blind man in Bethsaida, parallel to the healing of other blind men in Israel. 

 

And finally on the road to Caesarea Philippi, a location uniquely associated with Herod Philip, Tiberius Caesar and Emperor Worship, growing particularly in the East as a response to Tiberius, but also at an earlier time, a site of the worship of the god of the forest, pan. So the area was also called Panius, a very fitting place in light of all of these alternatives pagan religions for Jesus to ask what the Jewish or largely Jewish people were saying about him. Noting their inadequate answers; he then asked, ‘what do you say about me, who I am.’ Peter gives his divinely inspired magnificent answer, ‘you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’ In Matthew’s Gospel, the promise to have the Keys of the Kingdom, which led the early church, opening the doors to Jews and gentiles alike, as we see them doing it in the opening chapters of Acts, being the foundation stone or rock on which the church was built, though nothing in this context even remotely hints at anything like ongoing apostolic succession or infallible papacy. Indeed, it will not be long before Peter turns from hero to goat in no time as speaking now more akin to the motives of the Satan than of God, he rebukes Jesus when Jesus begins to talk about his necessary coming suffering and death.