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THE Pharisaic party became more suspicious of Jesus than they had been of the rigid preacher of repentance, when it was found that his ministry was beginning to attract still greater attention than John’s had done. He determined, therefore, to leave that part of the country.293293   Here is the occasion of Matthew’s statement, Matt., iv., 12. But as the first three Gospels only speak expressly of Christ’s last journey (see p. 155), no distinction is made between his stay in Galilee before and after his first journey. Hence arose the mistake as to the time of John’s imprisonment, to correct which error in the tradition probably John, iii., 24, was intended. Galilee offered a safe abode; and, besides, a good spiritual soil for his instructions would probably be found there, as deep impressions had been made upon the minds of many Galileans attending the Passover, by his public labours at Jerusalem. He took the shortest road—three days’ journey—to Galilee, through Samaria; and made use of the opportunity to scatter seeds for the future among the people of that country, who were then longing for new revelations, and among whom no political perversions of the Messianic idea were to be found, as among the Jews.

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