The Galilee Kingdom Tour

Apr 30 2020

Jesus commissioned six disciple-pairs, twelve men, to take his message to the towns of Galilee. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke provide background.

Matthew gives the scope of the operation. Jesus sent the twelve specifically to Israelite towns in Galilee, not to the foreigners of the north or the Samaritans to the south (Mt 10:5-6).

The basic message Jesus gave his men to speak: “The kingdom of heaven is near” (Mt 10:7). Jesus also instructed them to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons, and freely give.

Mark and Luke offer Jesus’ instruction on the logistics of the speaking tour: “Take nothing for the journey” (Mk 6:8; Lk 9:3). So the twelve would be entirely dependent on hospitality.

So without any luggage, the twelve were heading into Galilee, a province that was 50 miles long and 25 miles wide. The mountainous region of Galilee extended from the Lebanese mountains in the north to the Jezreel Plain between Galilee and Samaria in the south, and from Lake Galilee on the east to just inland from the coast. (Tyre controlled the coast.)

Josephus commented that Galilee included over 200 cities and villages (Life, 235). Concerning the economy, Josephus writes, “Their soil is universally rich and fruitful, and full of the plantations of trees of all sorts. . . [the land] is all cultivated by its inhabitants, and no part of it lies idle. Moreover, the cities lie here very thick” (Jewish War, 3.43).**

Six teams to cover a populated region about the size of Rhode Island.

** Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987).

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