The Johannine Problems -- By: Hans C. Juell

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 073:291 (Jul 1916)
Article: The Johannine Problems
Author: Hans C. Juell

The Johannine Problems

Hans C. Juell


There is a striking difference between John and the Synoptic Gospels in regard to the scene of Jesus’ ministry. In the Synoptic Gospels it is laid, almost exclusively, in Galilee, while in the Fourth Gospel we consider Jesus mostly in his Judæan ministry. Professor Schmiedel says: “In John the most important thing is this, that Jesus’ real and abiding dwelling-place during his ministry is Judæa and especially Jerusalem.”1

The scene of Jesus’ ministry opens “in Bethany beyond the Jordan,” which “was east of the river, and a day’s distance at the most from Cana of Galilee (John 2:1).”2 Jesus. and his disciples went into Galilee and remained there until the passover. Then they left for the feast at Jerusalem. How long they stayed in Galilee, or at Jerusalem and “the land of Judaea,” we do not know. But they need not have remained in Judaea more than two weeks. Then they left for Galilee.

Jesus remained in Galilee until the time of the unnamed feast (John 5:1). On the sabbath following this feast he healed the man at the pool of Bethesda. This stirred up such an opposition (5:18) that Jesus left for Galilee in fear

of his life (John 7:1), where he remained over one passover (John 6:4) and six months into the next year, till the feast of tabernacles. This means that he was in Galilee, according to the Fourth Gospel, continuously for sixteen months.3

We are not told whether Jesus remained in Jerusalem during the two months between the feast of tabernacles and the feast of the dedication. What we have recorded here may not have taken more than a week; so, if the Synoptic accounts should demand Jesus’ presence elsewhere during that time, there is nothing to preclude that possibility. Just at the close of the last-named feast “he went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John was at the first baptizing; and there he abode” (John 5:40). During the four months from the feast of the dedication to the feast of the passover Jesus makes but a brief visit, a few days at most, to Judaea, when he raised Lazarus, until he finally, “six days before the passover,” came to Bethany (John 12:1).<...

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