SpendaYearwithJesus in Nine Movements

The agricultural cycle of spring and fall harvests and festivals provide a broad calendar framework for Jesus’ year. The Gospels, other ancient writings, archeological finds as well as topography and weather patterns contribute detail within the broader calendar framework.

01 Spring Harvest and Feast Season (intro+map)

Capernaum and Jerusalem
Nissan, the 1st month
Iyyar, the 2nd month
Sivan, the 3rd month

Going home. We join Jesus and company on the trails from Jerusalem to Capernaum after the first Spring Feast. After two years of teaching tours, the expectant Galilean crowds have great hopes for Jesus as a messianic revolutionary. Jesus responds with a different mission. High hopes or no, life goes on and Galilee brings in the wheat harvest and prepares for another feast.

02 Hometown Rejection & Withdrawal (intro+map)

Tyre and Decapolis
Tammuz, the 4th month

Jesus' teaching and healing activity unsettles the Jerusalem religious leaders; their precarious balance of power over the people threatened by any and all messianic figures. They use the law and fear to censor Jesus in his hometown of Capernaum. Perhaps from local pressure or possibly by invitation, Jesus leaves the region of Galilee and travels north to the coastal area of Tyre (in present-day Lebanon). Jesus' absence had to be a relief to the Capernaum's conflicted civic leaders.

03 Revealing Mini-Tour with Disciples (intro+map)

Northern Galilee, Caesarea Philippi
Ab, the 5th month

Jesus returns to Capernaum, resupplies, and heads out again to the region of Caesarea-Philippi with his twelve disciples. Among the trees, mountains and streams of upper Galilee, Jesus begins to reveal his identity and mission to those closest to him. They loyally follow Jesus, in spite of having to absorb comments and experiences far beyond their frame of reference.

04 Families Preparing for Winter Rains (intro+map)

Capernaum
Elul, the 6th month

Another natural pause occurs as community members bring in the fruit harvest and make preparations for winter before the fall feasts. No slacker, Jesus joins with the teachers and laborers of his community. Families work together to prepare physically and spiritually for the feasts and rains.

05 Fall Feasts Face-off (intro+map)

Jerusalem
Tishri, the 7th month

The Fall Feasts include New Year’s Day (Rosh Hashanah), the Holy Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and the Feast of Huts. At first, Jesus avoids the crowds and slips into Jerusalem without notice. But when he emerges in the teaching alcoves, arguments break out over Jesus’ identity and purpose. Jesus aggravates the debate. Though the religious leaders want to arrest Jesus, the political environment isn’t right and Jesus leaves the city.

06 Judean Teaching Tour (intro+map)

Judea, South
Marchshevan, the 8th mo

The early rains soften the field for the plow. Jesus sends seventy heralds “ahead of him” into Judea and Perea to towns he intended to visit. He moves his home base to Bethany, a Jerusalem suburb, by the invitation of sisters Mary and Martha, and their brother Lazarus. Jesus travels to communities south and east of Jerusalem following the paths of the seventy. Farmers scatter wheat and barley seed and wait for latter rain.

07 Personal and National Association (intro+map)

Judea, West
Kislev, the 9th month

Around Jerusalem, Jesus spends time with his friend Lazarus, and he celebrates the Feast of Dedication with his nation.

08 Temple Tension & Withdrawal (intro+map)

Jerusalem and across the Jordan
Tebeth, the 10th month
Shebat, the 11th month

Patriots return to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah), a feast instituted to celebrate Jewish independence achieved 150 years before Jesus was born. Jesus takes the opportunity to offer commentary on leadership – the good shepherd. Sensing disparagement, the religious authorities become hostile. Jesus continues. the crowds grow hostile. Jesus withdraws to a remote place where John baptized almost three years before. People gather. Jesus teaches them. After a few weeks in the remote area, he tours Perea.

09 Helping a Friend, Threatening the Status Quo (intro+map)

Jerusalem to Northern Judea
Adar, the 12th month

Jesus' friend Lazarus is sick. His sisters appeal for help. The disciples remember the hostile crowds of Jerusalem just over the hill from Bethany. Resolute, Jesus returns and helps his friend. Then he and his twelve closest followers retreat to the wilderness valleys north of Jerusalem where they remain out of sight until the time for the Spring Feast of Passover.

10 Epic End (intro+map)

Jerusalem
Nissan, the 1st month

After weeks out of sight of the crowds, Jesus’ disciples return to Galilee to retrieve their families before meeting their obligation to attend the Feast. Jesus joins them on the road to Jerusalem. Along the way, Jesus heals some blind men and inspires a tax collector to generous living. Among the festive crowd, hope swells. At this, the religious authorities must take decisive action to maintain their balance of power, but Jesus has the last word.