Withdrawal from Judea through Samaria—John iv. 1-42.
Unlooked-for welcome in Galilee—John iv. 43-45.
? Second sign at Cana:
Cure of the Nobleman’s son—John iv.
sect. A 41).
[Retirement at Nazareth, the disciples
resuming their accustomed
calling. Inferred from Matt. iv. 13; Luke iv. 31; Matt. iv. 18-22 and
Events marked ? should possibly
be given a different place; ||s stands
for “parallel accounts;” for sections marked A—as A 41—see Appendix.
The Early Ministry in Judea
113. We owe to the fourth gospel our knowledge of the fact that Jesus began his general ministry in Jerusalem. The silence of the other records concerning this beginning cannot discredit the testimony of John. For these other records themselves indicate in various ways that Jesus had repeatedly sought to win Jerusalem before his final visit at the end of his life (compare Luke xiii. 34; Matt. xxiii. 37). Moreover, the fourth gospel is confirmed by the probability, rising almost to necessity, that such a mission as Jesus conceived his to be must seek first to win the leaders of his people. The temple at Jerusalem was the centre of worship, drawing all Jews sooner or later to itself—even as Jesus in early youth was accustomed to go thither at the time of feasts (Luke ii. 41). Worshippers of God throughout the world prayed with their faces towards Jerusalem (Dan. vi. 10). Moreover, at Jerusalem the chief of the scribes, as well as the chief of the priests, were to be found. Compared with Jerusalem all other places were provincial and of small influence. A Messiah, who had not from the outset given up hope of winning the capital, cannot have long delayed his effort to find a following there.
114. Arriving at Jerusalem at the Passover season, in the early spring, Jesus remained in Judea until the following December (John iv. 35). Evidently the record which John gives of these months is most fragmentary, and from his own statement (xx. 30, 31) it seems highly probable that it is one sided, emphasizing those events and teachings in which Jesus disclosed more or less clearly his claim to be the Messiah. Doubtless the full record would show a much closer similarity between this early work in Judea and that later conducted in Galilee than a comparison of John with the other gospels would suggest; yet it is evident that Jesus opened his ministry in Jerusalem with an unrestrained frankness that is not found later in Galilee.