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Main Page The great Gospel of John Volume 1 GGJ01-12 Chapter

Chapter 12 - Call to the sons of Zebedee: James and John. Beginning of the Lord’s ministry

John 2,12. After this He went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers and his disciples, but they did not stay there long.

12,1. Seven days after this wedding, I left Nazareth and went with Mary, My five brothers - two of whom also belonged to My disciples - and with the disciples I had so far taken on down to Capernaum. This city was then quite an important trade center situated on the border of Zebulon and Naphtali and also in the middle of these two provinces on the Sea of Galilee, not far from the spot where John was baptizing on the opposite bank of the Jordan in the region of Bethabara, as long as there was sufficient water in this often quite parched riverbed.

12,2. One may ask what I was actually seeking in this city which had already become quite heathenish. One should read the prophet Isaiah 9:1, etc, where it is written: “The land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali on the way by the Sea beyond Jordan and heathen Galilee, the people who walked in the darkness have seen a great light: a mighty light has dawned upon them who were walking in the shadow of death.”

12,3. And if one has found this text in Isaiah and knows that I had to fulfill the Scripture from A to Z, it will be easy to understand why I went from Nazareth to Capernaum. Besides, in this region two more disciples had to be taken on: James and John, sons of Zebedee. They were also fishermen fishing in the Sea of Galilee not far from the mouth of the Jordan and also not far from the spot where Peter and Andrew worked, both of whom were also entitled to fish in the Sea.

12,4. When I had also taken on these disciples and they had recognized Me from My words and the mighty witness of those who were with Me, I began to teach the people properly, calling them to repentance since the kingdom of Heaven was upon them. I went into their synagogues teaching there. Some believed, but many were annoyed, wanted to lay hands on Me and throw Me into the Sea from a cliff. But I eluded them with all those who were with Me and visited some small settlements on the Sea of Galilee, proclaimed the Kingdom of God, healed many sick, and the poor and simple believed and received Me with goodwill. Some of them joined Me and followed Me everywhere like lambs follow their shepherd.

12,5. In Capernaum I stayed only for a short while since there was as good as no belief there and even less love. This city was a place of trade and mercenary spirit, and where these rule, faith and love have been completely abandoned. Thus where this is the case, there is little or nothing for Me to do.

John 2,13. As it was near the time of the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

12,6. As the Jewish Passover feast had come, I went up to Jerusalem with all who were with Me. But one must not imagine the Passover feast of the real Jews at . same time which is now set for the similar feast by various Christian communities, sometimes already for the month of March. This was almost three months later. For at the Passover, Jehovah was offered thanks for the first harvest of the year consisting in barley, corn and wheat. On that occasion the new bread was already eaten which, according to the Law, had to be unleavened bread, and no one in the land was allowed to eat leavened bread during this time.

12,7. Therefore, this feast of the unleavened bread could take place only when the newly harvested corn could already be ground into flour and not at a time when the corn had only been sowed. In a good year the corn in Judea ripens 14 to 20 days sooner than here. However, even in Egypt the corn and wheat are hardly ever harvested before the end of May, let alone in Judea where it is considerably cooler than in Egypt.

12,8. But the time of the unleavened bread had come and, as already mentioned above, I went with all who were with Me up to the Jewish capital, which was also called “The City of God”, for the name Jerusalem means as much as “City of God”.

12,9. During that time many people always came to Jerusalem, including many Gentiles, who bought and sold various goods, as utensils, woven articles, cattle and fruit of all kinds. This feast had in those days completely lost its sacred aspect and greed prompted even the priesthood to lease for this time the courtyards and entrance halls of the temple to the traders, where Jews or Gentiles, for a considerable sum, so that such a temple rent for the duration of the feast amounted to 1,000 pieces of silver, which in those days was an immense sum and comparatively more than nowadays 100,000 florins.

12,10. I went up to Jerusalem at the time of the high priest Caiaphas who knew how to hold on to this naturally most lucrative office for more than a year. For the observance of the Mosaic Law had in those days degenerated into the emptiest possible ceremony, and no priest had actually more regard for it than for the snow that had fallen a hundred years ago. On the other hand the useless, empty ceremony had reached its peak in serving to bully the poor people excessively.

12,11. He even leased some spots in the inner part of the temple to dealers in pigeons and to some small money-changers. These latter carried small coins, for which those how needed smaller coins could for a certain exchange premium change their silver coins, Roman gold coins and the Roman cattle money (pecunia), for the Romans had a special kind of money for the purchase of cattle. Depending on what animal was embossed on such a coin, the same animal had to be available for purchase with that coin provided its owner had it for sale. For such cattle money it was possible to obtain from the bigger or smaller money-changers also another type of money in circulation, but at a higher premium.

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