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Jesus Rested from Ministry

In my humble opinion, the three year chronology of Jesus' ministry years is too dense, too packed with activity. (The rarely held two year view is absurd!) More realistically, Cheney's four year chronology reveals long periods of silence in-between recorded activities, and these periods often occur during winter.

The ordeal of his forty days fasting must have required recuperation for several weeks before that first passover of John's 2nd chapter. That gets surprisingly overlooked. So does the fact that events for the whole year or so from the Woman at the Well until the Sermon on the Mount leave plenty of time for rest and prayer, including another whole winter. After that, Jesus sends his disciples out in pairs into "the harvest" (autumn) and seems to have been laying low when they meet up with him again around Passover (spring). It seems a third winter was spent "off".

The three and four year chronologies basically agree on that much, up to John's beheading. Everything after that either gets packed into one single year or spread out into two. Granted, Jesus seems to push harder near the end, and that lack of rest contributes to the stress under which he sweats blood and dies after only six hours on the cross. But Cheney's chronology gives him a third year that is more consistent with the first two, followed by a fourth year that shows nearly constant motion all over Judea.

Jesus traveled so much during that phase, running from Antipas, touring the Decapolis, Phoenicia and the Golan, and visiting at least 35 towns in Judea. In a three year model, the travel time alone means the ministry would have to be virtually non-stop. Personally, I don't think Jesus waited so long to get back into Judea and then gave it such a shoddy once-overing. Besides, did he never take a week off?

Jesus' life in general shows that times of rest and spiritual recovery (and preparation) were very important to him. This may not be much of a historical argument, but it should definitely add weight to the four year model and cause much reconsideration among its opponents.

Then again, if anyone can convince me Jesus was a western style corporate executive, I'll reverse my view entirely. ;)

1 comment:

Javetta said...

Bill,

I really appreciate your view on this. It makes Jesus more human. It dispels the myth that Jesus was some kind of super human who defied his humanity to be able to finish the work that He was sent for. Real people get tired and need rest. So did Jesus. Real people need seasons of seclusion so that they can be rejuvenated by the Lord. So did Jesus.

I have recently been confronted with Jesus's humanity and I must say this was a valuable viewpoint to help me understand it better. There are many others out there who struggle to understand the human side of Jesus. I think this will help (you should post this on your Facebook page).