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§ 201. Divisions among the People.—Christ’s return into Galilee.

The worldly-minded and fanatical portion of the people were incapable of understanding these words of Christ; instead of inspiration they saw nothing but extravagance. But others were irresistibly attracted; words, such as no other could utter, seemed to them in perfect harmony with works, such as no other could do. New divisions arose 303and the power of the Sanhedrim, of course, was upon the side of Christ’s enemies.

The life of Jesus was more and more endangered every day at Jerusalem, and his ministry more and more disturbed. He, therefore, withdrew from the metropolis and returned to Capernaum, now, indeed, for the last time.548548   From the statements of John, taken alone, we should infer that Christ did not leave the city immediately after the Feast of Tabernacles, but remained until that of the Dedication. It is true that John does not expressly say (x., 22) that he remained, which deviation from the ordinary rule we might expect him to have mentioned; but this omission can be explained more readily than the omission of the journey back to Galilee. Moreover, it would be easier to trace the connexion of the history by supposing the previous journey to have been the last, than by admitting the one adopted in our text (chap. xi.). The course of preparation for his death to which he subjected his disciples (as already related) would suit much better to this hypothesis, as taking place just before the last journey than before the next to the last.
   Thus far we agree with B. Jacobi (Dissertation on the Chronology of the Life of Jesus, before cited). But we learn from Luke, ix., 51, that Jesus made his last journey through Samaria; that he travelled slowly, in order to scatter the seeds of the kingdom in the towns and villages as he passed, and to make wholesome impressions upon the people. Against John’s testimony such an authority as this would not avail; and it may be admitted, too, that the accounts of two journeys are blended together in it, with other foreign matter. Cf. Luke, xiii., 22; xvii., 11, in which passages a beginning is made towards accounts of two journeys, though they, perhaps, refer to the same one. But it is clear, in any case, that many things recited here must belong to a last journey; for instance, xiii., 31-33. Now it cannot be for a moment supposed that this journey, so described, was the one that Christ took in order to attend the Feast of Tabernacles (John, viii., 2, seq.); for John tells us that in that case he remained behind the rest, and, avoiding all publicity, came into the city unexpectedly after the feast had gone on for some days; all utterly in conflict with Luke’s account of the journey through Samaria. Nor is it internally probable that Christ would have remained in the city after the feast at a time when his labours must have suffered so many hindrances from the persecutions of the Pharisees; the last period of his stay on earth was to be more actively employed. Nor does this view of the case contradict John’s statements; it only presupposes a blank necessary to be filled.

   We have thus drawn attention to the arguments advanced on both sides; not intending, however, to preclude further inquiry of our own. Cannot John’s statement, that Jesus went up to the feast “not openly, but, as it were, in secret” (vii., 10), be explained by supposing that he did not take the usual caravan road, nor journey with a caravan, but took an unusual route through Samaria, a province that held no connexion whatever with Judea? May not his late arrival at Jerusalem, in the middle of the feast, be explained on the ground that he intentionally took the longer route? Admitting this, it will be easy (as Krabbe and Wieseler allow) to reconcile John’s account with Luke’s.

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