Harmony of the Gospels

 (55) Galilee Departure and Samaritan Rejection
Matthew 19:1, Luke 9:51-56, John 7:10

Matthew calls our attention to the movement of Jesus around Palestine.  Jesus enters Judea again and moves to Jerusalem for the last time before He is crucified.  There is definite intention in everything He does and says.  Matthew tells us:

And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan; (Matt.19:1)

He said, “When Jesus had finished these sayings,” but what sayings were these.  Well, it’s the ones in the previous chapters; chapters 16-18.  Having finished what He wanted to say in Galilee, He went south and came into the borders of Judea, beyond Jordan, meaning the east bank of the Jordan River.  The movement is in a physical and geographical sense now.  Up in Caesarea Philippi He announced that He was going to Jerusalem to die.  He went down into Galilee, and He spent time in that area around the Sea of Galilee.  Capernaum was His headquarters, and He even crossed over into Gedera.  Now He is on the border of Jedea.

I have to be reminded and maybe you do to; with rare exceptions, He walked everywhere He went. Most nights, He slept on the ground, and Satan dogged Him constantly. Jesus was a MAN.

Now, John adds a little more information to what Matthew gave us.

But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. (John 7:10)

He probably traveled with his disciples on a back road and entered into the city through the sheep gate.  I believe He always entered Jerusalem through the sheep gate until the time of His so-called triumphal entry when He appeared publicly, offering Himself to the nation and actually demanding that they either accept or reject Him.

Luke has more to say about the Lord’s determination to travel to Jerusalem than John and Matthew do.

And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.  And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.  And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?  But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.  For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village. (Luke 9:51-56)

Between the October Feast of the Tabernacles and Christ’s final Passover was a period of about six months, and during this period His life was in constant danger, especially in Judea.  During this time Jesus spent most of His time in Peraea.  When He ventured into Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah in December, He was practically stoned.  After that He spent some time in Peraea, and while He was there He was interrupted only by His mission to raise Lazarus.  Luke, like the other two, tells us that Jesus was determined to go up to Jerusalem.

Notice that Jesus sent messengers ahead of Him into Samaritan country.  They were probably His disciples, and it says they were rejected.  I think about the Good Samaritan because of his parable, but they were no better than the Jews—both rejected Him.

We always think of John as a ladylike apostle, but his fiery disposition can be seen in this passage. He was so angry at those who rejected Jesus that He said to Jesus, “Wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them.” 

Jesus rebukes any kind of insensitive and unforgiving spirit.  Listen to the stinging rebuke that He gave to the two disciples: “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.  For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”  On another occasion He said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.”  I believe this shows that at this time, John completely misunderstood the purpose for Christ’s coming.

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