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§ 179. Reasons for the Journey.

WE have said that Christ desired to obtain an opportunity for private intercourse with the disciples, in order to hear the re port of their mission journey, and to prepare their minds for the stormy times that were approaching. As it seemed impossible to secure this in the neighbourhood of Tiberias, he determined to go to some distance from that region of country, a purpose which other circumstances soon hastened.

Herod Antipas, who then reigned in Galilee, hearing of the fame of Jesus, became personally desirous to see him. This wish was probably dictated by mere curiosity, or by a desire to test Christ’s power to work miracles;486486   Cf. Luke, xxiii., 8. In view of the character of Herod, there is more internal probability in Luke, ix., 7, than Matt., xiv., 1, 2. certainly it arose from no sense of spiritual need. As such a meeting could lead to no good result, Christ must have desired to avoid it. This formed an additional motive for withdrawing himself into North Galilee; and perhaps beyond, into Paneas, or Cesarea Philippi, the domain of the Tetrarch Philip.487487   We infer the direction which Christ took with his disciples from comparing Matt., xv., 21; xvi., 13; Mark, vii., 24; viii., 27; Luke, ix., 10-18. The first stage of the journey took him to Bethsaida Julias, on the west side of the Sea of Genesareth.


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