The Amazing Galileans
Jesus focused his ministry in one small place in Israel: Galilee, in the three cities of Korazin, Capernaum, and Bethsaida. Although many people today assume that Galileans were simple, uneducated peasants who lived in an isolated area, the truth is they interacted more with the world that the Jews of Jerusalem. After all, the Via Maris trade route passed through Galilee, exposing them to many different peoples and cultures.
The Galileans were also the most religious Jews in the world during Jesus’ time. They revered and knew the Scriptures well. They were passionately committed to living out their faith and passing their faith, knowledge, and lifestyle to their children. This led to the establishment of vibrant religious communities; a strong commitment to families and country; and active participation in the local synagogues;the community centers of that day. In fact, more famous Jewish teachers came from Galilee more than anywhere else.
The Galileans resisted the pagan influences of Hellenism far longer than their Judean counterparts, and when the great revolt against the Romans and their collaborators finally occurred (AD 66-74), it began among the Galileans.
Clearly God carefully prepared the environment in which Jesus was born and reared so that he would have exactly the context he needed in order to present his message of malchut Shemayim”the kingdom of heaven”effectively, and so that people would understand and join his new movement.
A deeper knowledge of Galilee and its people helps us understand the great faith and courage of Jesus’ disciples, who left Galilee and shared the good news with the world. (Evidence indicated that Judas Iscariot was apparently the only non-Galilean among Jesus’ twelve, closest disciples.) The disciples’ courage, the message they taught, the methods they used, and their complete devotion to God and his Word were born in Galilee’s religious communities.
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