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Why was Jesus town-shy?

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  • Tim Crosby
    *What do you make of the following texts, which I first noticed as a group a few days ago: * Mark 1:45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading
    Message 1 of 5 , May 24 4:57 PM
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      *What do you make of the following texts, which I first noticed as a
      group a few days ago: *


      Mark 1:45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the
      news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed
      outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from
      everywhere.

      Mark 11:1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany
      at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to
      them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you
      will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and
      bring it here."

      Matt 8:34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw
      him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

      Luke 9:52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan
      village to get things ready for him.

      Luke 10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them
      two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.

      Luke 22:8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations
      for us to eat the Passover." 9 "Where do you want us to prepare for it?"
      they asked. 10 He replied, "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar
      of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters,

      John 4:4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in
      Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his
      son Joseph. 6 Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from
      the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. . . . 8
      (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) . . . 30 They [the
      citizens] came out of the town and made their way toward him.

      John 11:20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet
      him, but Mary stayed at home. . . . 28 And after she had said this, she
      went back and called her sister Mary aside. "The Teacher is here," she
      said, "and is asking for you." 29 When Mary heard this, she got up
      quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village,
      but was still at the place where Martha had met him.


      *Does the first passage adequately account for all the rest? Or was
      there some other reason Jesus tended to wait outside towns? Was he
      crowd-shy (why would a preacher not like crowds)? Was he waiting, as a
      dignitary, to be honored with a delegation to come out and greet him, as
      was the custom in ancient times, and was he waiting for his disciples to
      do some PR work in the town? Did he think cities were evil? Did he want
      time alone in nature away from the disciples? What's going on here?

      Tim Crosby
      *


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Bob Schacht
      ... Well, first of all, you have to decide whether or not to take these texts at face value, as complete and representative of Jesus travels. I ve often
      Message 2 of 5 , May 25 12:06 AM
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        At 01:57 PM 5/24/2007, Tim Crosby wrote:

        >*What do you make of the following texts, which I first noticed as a
        >group a few days ago: *
        >
        >
        >Mark 1:45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the
        >news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed
        >outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from
        >everywhere.
        >
        >Mark 11:1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany
        >at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to
        >them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you
        >will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and
        >bring it here."
        >
        >Matt 8:34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw
        >him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
        >
        >Luke 9:52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan
        >village to get things ready for him.
        >
        >Luke 10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them
        >two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.
        >
        >Luke 22:8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations
        >for us to eat the Passover." 9 "Where do you want us to prepare for it?"
        >they asked. 10 He replied, "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar
        >of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters,
        >
        >John 4:4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in
        >Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his
        >son Joseph. 6 Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from
        >the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. . . . 8
        >(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) . . . 30 They [the
        >citizens] came out of the town and made their way toward him.
        >
        >John 11:20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet
        >him, but Mary stayed at home. . . . 28 And after she had said this, she
        >went back and called her sister Mary aside. "The Teacher is here," she
        >said, "and is asking for you." 29 When Mary heard this, she got up
        >quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village,
        >but was still at the place where Martha had met him.
        >
        >
        >*Does the first passage adequately account for all the rest? Or was
        >there some other reason Jesus tended to wait outside towns? Was he
        >crowd-shy (why would a preacher not like crowds)? Was he waiting, as a
        >dignitary, to be honored with a delegation to come out and greet him, as
        >was the custom in ancient times, and was he waiting for his disciples to
        >do some PR work in the town? Did he think cities were evil? Did he want
        >time alone in nature away from the disciples? What's going on here?
        >
        >Tim Crosby

        Well, first of all, you have to decide whether or not to take these texts
        at face value, as complete and representative of Jesus' travels.
        I've often wondered myself at the silence of all the Gospels regarding
        Sepphoris, only a few miles from Nazareth, and Tiberias, which Jesus must
        have traveled through or near on the way to and from Bethsaida.

        Personally, I think that for one reason or another, the writers of the
        Gospels chose not to tell us about Jesus' visits to the towns-- or maybe
        there are scenes in the Gospels that took place in the towns, but for one
        reason or another the writer just neglects to tell us about the location.

        Nevertheless, your appeal to Mark 1:45 as context for these other pericopes
        is interesting, and might have some grounding in reality. Interestingly, in
        The Acts of Jesus, the Jesus Seminar colored that whole sentence in black
        (i.e., not historical), but makes no comment about it. So the historicity
        of your paradigm quote may not be secure.

        To make your thesis stick, you'll have to offer a good thesis to justify
        it. Here's a start: The Herodians.
        NRS Mark 3:6 The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the
        Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

        NRS Mark 12:13 Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to
        trap him in what he said.

        Jesus would be more likely to encounter Herodians in the towns. I wonder
        also if "Pharisees" here is a gloss for people who have received more
        education-- perhaps the Pharisees were more likely to be literate?

        The Gospels do not often compare Jesus to the educated teachers of his day,
        but when they do, we find them portraying Jesus as having a different kind
        of authority. See for example, Mark 11:28-33//Matt 21:23-27, where the
        chief priests and elders of the temple question Jesus' authority, and Mark
        1:22-27, where his kind of authority is contrasted with that of the Scribes.

        Many other explanations have been offered for Jesus "authority," but the
        difference in light of your thesis might be an urban/rural difference as
        much as anything else.

        Add this to your collection as well:

        Matt. 11:20 Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds
        of power had been done, because they did not repent.
        21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of
        power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented
        long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
        22 But I tell you, on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for
        Tyre and Sidon than for you.
        23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be
        brought down to Hades. For if the deeds of power done in you had been done
        in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

        Now, this counts both for and against your thesis, because the first of
        these verses directly contradicts your thesis.
        However, they also in general support the rural/urban split variant on your
        thesis. Except for the odd bit of speculation about Tyre & Sidon. What's
        that about?

        Bob Schacht
        University of Hawaii

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Ernest Pennells
        [Time Crosby] ... The link between JBap, Jesus and Antipas offers an explanation. According to the Gospels JBap was executed for public criticism of Antipas
        Message 3 of 5 , May 25 9:16 AM
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          [Time Crosby]
          >was there some other reason Jesus tended to wait outside towns?<

          The link between JBap, Jesus and Antipas offers an explanation. According
          to the Gospels JBap was executed for public criticism of Antipas' marriage
          to Herodias, and Jesus publicly denounced divorce. Even though Jesus is
          not portrayed as citing the Herodias affair, that would be enough to
          explain why Antipas might want to kill him, too. After all, the only
          specific case of divorce identified in the NT is the twin example of
          Antipas-Herodias.

          War with Aretas evidently took place later. However, as the cause of that
          war was the dismissal of Aretas' daughter to marry Herodias, preliminary
          rumblings and preparations for that war might well have been under way
          during Jesus' public ministry. This offers prima face evidence for two
          possible reasons for being town shy: keeping a low profile to avoid the
          fate of JBap; and avoiding conscription into Antipas' army.


          Regards,

          Ernie Pennells,
          220-50 Songhees Road,
          Victoria BC,
          Canada V9A 7J4

          Tel: (1) 250 - 381 5676
          http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0006-0895(198324)46%3A1%3C57%3AMBAEAC%3E2.0
          .CO%3B2-K
          http://www.trafford.com/4dcgi/robots/03-1982.html




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Tim Crosby
          To make your thesis stick, you ll have to offer a good thesis to justify it. Here s a start: The Herodians. NRS Mark 3:6 The Pharisees went out and immediately
          Message 4 of 5 , May 25 6:42 PM
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            To make your thesis stick, you'll have to offer a good thesis to justify
            it. Here's a start: The Herodians.
            NRS Mark 3:6 The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the
            Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

            NRS Mark 12:13 Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to
            trap him in what he said.

            Jesus would be more likely to encounter Herodians in the towns. I wonder
            also if "Pharisees" here is a gloss for people who have received more
            education-- perhaps the Pharisees were more likely to be literate?

            The Gospels do not often compare Jesus to the educated teachers of his day,
            but when they do, we find them portraying Jesus as having a different kind
            of authority. See for example, Mark 11:28-33//Matt 21:23-27, where the
            chief priests and elders of the temple question Jesus' authority, and Mark
            1:22-27, where his kind of authority is contrasted with that of the Scribes.

            Many other explanations have been offered for Jesus "authority," but the
            difference in light of your thesis might be an urban/rural difference as
            much as anything else.

            Add this to your collection as well:

            Matt. 11:20 Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds
            of power had been done, because they did not repent.
            21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of
            power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented
            long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
            22 But I tell you, on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for
            Tyre and Sidon than for you.
            23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be
            brought down to Hades. For if the deeds of power done in you had been done
            in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

            Now, this counts both for and against your thesis, because the first of
            these verses directly contradicts your thesis.
            However, they also in general support the rural/urban split variant on your
            thesis. Except for the odd bit of speculation about Tyre & Sidon. What's
            that about?

            Bob Schacht
            University of Hawaii


            Thanks for your response. Matt 11:20 is a useful contribution. Actually,
            Bob, I don't have a thesis. I'm certainly not saying that Jesus never
            went into towns; only that the texts suggest that He initially paused
            outside them. He must have spent time in the towns later. I suggested
            about four possible interpretations of the evidence---four conflicting
            theses---and I will add yours (he stayed outside towns to avoid the
            Herodians) to the list. Actually, the one I lean toward slightly is the
            custom of having the citizens "come out to meet" an approaching
            dignitary, as they did at the triumphal entry.

            Tim Crosby



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Graham Twelftree
            I am tinkering away on a piece Jesus the Baptist and was wondering if there are any listers out there with the time and inclination to look over a rough
            Message 5 of 5 , Jun 5, 2007
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              I am tinkering away on a piece "Jesus the Baptist" and was wondering if
              there are any listers out there with the time and inclination to look over a
              rough draft to give me some rigorous feedback. Contact me off line:
              grahtwe@...



              Thanks

              Graham H. Twelftree
              School of Divinity
              Regent University
              http://www.regent.edu/acad/schdiv/faculty_staff/twelftree.shtml



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