Jesus Returns to Galilee - John 1:43-51
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, "Follow me." Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth." Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!" Nathanael asked him, "Where did you get to know me?" Jesus answered, "I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you." Nathanael replied, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Jesus answered, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these." And he said to him, "Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."
Galilee is the northern region of Palestine. There is an Upper and Lower Galilee. Upper Galilee was always very thinly populated. It is a mountainous area bordering on the frontiers of modern Lebanon. Lower Galilee has a much more gentle topography. The hills do not rise above 1500 feet. There are fertile plains. The Sea of Galilee is one of the most important features of the area. It is quite a substantial expanse of water being about thirteen miles long and eight miles wide. During the time of Jesus, Galilee was ruled by a son of Herod, Herod Antipas. He reigned from 4 B.C. to 39 A.D. It was a peaceful reign. Racially, the population was quite mixed. There were Israelites whose ancestors had lived in the land for centuries; there were relatively recent Jewish colonists who had moved in there a century before Christ. There was also a very large Greek-speaking population who lived in the cities and were divided from the Jews by language, religion and tradition. The shores of the lake were much more thickly populated then. The lake itself was a busy sea-road for commerce and transport. Fishing and the fish packing industry was a major resource in the area.
The first gospel to be written is attributed to a disciple called Mark. The Gospel takes us on a journey around Galilee. The ministry of Jesus seems to have largely centred around the Sea of Galilee. His home town was Capernaum on the lakeside. Around the seashore, crowds gathered to listen to his teachings. "Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them" (Mk.2:13). A quiet deserted nook of the countryside becomes a place of refreshment and renewal, "And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves" (Mk.6:31).
Features of the Galilean countryside are found in the stories and sayings of Jesus, - the beauty of the wild flowers, sowing, harvesting,viniculture, field workers, birds and animals.
This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists
Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries