Was Galilee Jesus’ Real Home? (jn 4: 43-54)

What was Jesus’ Home address? It Depends. (By Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg)

43 After the two days he departed for Galilee for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown. So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast. 46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. 53 …Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

The differences between the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John have for centuries puzzled commentators. Some labored hard to reconcile every jot and tittle, while others reached the conclusion that John contradicts the Synoptics (Mark, Matthew and Luke). Many commentators are situated between these positions. They recognized that essentially the Gospels tell one story about Jesus. They also recognized that some of the crucial differences cannot be dismissed nor should they be ignored. The following section can rightly be numbered among such divergent traditions that tell the same story from different angles and perspectives.

We come to Jn. 4:43-45 as the reporting of the events connected with Jesus’ stopover in Samaritan Shechem finishes. Here we see that Jesus does not return to Judea but continues his journey to Galilee. In addition to the absence of the incident with the Samaritan woman from the Synoptics, there is another significant feature in which the Synoptics and John part company. John states that the reason Jesus did not return to Judea, but went on to Galilee, was because “Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own homeland (literally fatherland in the sense of motherland in the English language).” (4:44)

What is of course striking here is that John names Judea as Jesus’ homeland, his fatherland and not Galilee as do the Synoptics (Mt 13:54-57, Mk. 6:1-4, Lk. 4:23-24). We read in Mark’s account for example that: “Jesus left there and went to his hometown (Nazareth in Galilee), accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.’ He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.”

On the other hand, together with this alternative reading of Jesus’ identity (as a Judean vs. Galilean), John’s Gospel paints a picture of Jesus’ rejection and acceptance that is also very different from the picture in the Synoptics. Galilee and Samaria were very responsive to Jesus, according to John’s Gospel. People there welcomed him with very few exceptions; while everything he did in his homeland of Judea seemed to meet significant opposition.

There is paradox and tension here. In Judea (Jesus’ motherland in John), Jesus faced persecution. He was born there and his Father’s house was in Jerusalem (not in Galilee and not in Samaria),  but it is from there that the real opposition to him came from.

In John, Judea is Jesus’ real home. He belongs in Judea, more than he belongs any place else. I suggest therefore that we should understand Jn. 1:11 within this context: “He came to his own (creation), and his own (the Ioudaioi – Judean leadership and their followers) did not receive him.”

Much more about this in my upcoming book “The King of All Israel: Gospel of John and the Judean-Samaritan Conflict.” It should be available on April 1, 2015.

© Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, Ph.D. 2014

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  1. Kat

    Is hometown ever a reference to where one received their education? (i.e Deu 6:6, Deu 32:7, or the Talmud..rabbis, older students)

  2. Jerry S.

    Taking to account the last 4 essays and reply to a commenter; “This possible rereading of this story shows that it also possible that we have been misreading many stories that we think we already know everything about”.

    The implications are what have intrigue me since my intro to the Hebrew roots of my faith 25+ years back. Yours and others research is commendable and providing access all the more. My faith and love only grow the more I learn of my Saviors Jewish life on earth and before. In this matter, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and at the least, the implications are some careers will have to make a new start, the worst is in HIS hands – Haggai 2: 6-9, Job 14:7.

  3. tina

    Hi, My father Elie Talhami was a Syrian but according to the Talhami family that are in Egypt, the Talhami surname was birthed in Bethlehem, 3yrs or 30 yrs after Jesus was Crucified. The family history was destroyed when Jerusalem was destroyed the last time. Apparently our Blood line is the same as Jesus through Mother Mary. How can I gather information on our background? If it is at all possible, could or would you help me please.
    Thanking You Kindly
    Tina

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Wow, this would be a challenge… I recommend a professional for this task. There are people who specialize as family historians and they are for hire. Serious venture.

  4. Roger D. Anderson

    This is one area where modern thought and 1st. century Jewish thought meet. I’m called by the name of my city, of my state, of my nation, of my continent, and of my planet. I could be said to be going home when going to any of these places. In the Roman effort to quell the Jewish rebellion of the 4 year war they started in Galilee. The rebellion started there and the Romans made no distinction. Seeing all parties as Jews.

  5. BENEDICTA NAZARETH

    We need to focus on Yeshua’s teachings, His ministry, the purpose of His coming to earth…. Instead we get side tracked and focus on details that lead us no where. All we hear about his childhood etc are speculations regardless of the so called EVIDENCES you may provide with the hope of convincing us and get us distracted. Yeshua is God incarnated in the flesh and therefore we need to stop treating him as a mere another Jew who lived in Israel once upon a time. We are required to emulate His character and live His teachings because in them is eternal life and some day we will stand before Him and be held accountable.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I am not sure I know what you mean by getting sidetracked by details that lead us to nowhere. What do you mean by that?

  6. BENEDICTA NAZARETH

    Dr Eli:one last thought on this topic that interests you so much that prompted you to even write a book on it: Yeshua was conceived by the Holy Spirit, of virgin birth. His fatherland is heaven and that is his permanent address. Holy Spirit dwells in heaven and now in the believers as well

  7. Justine Lerud

    sounds true!

  8. catrina

    I agree that these verses seem to mean He came into the world as one of us, and we did not recognize Him, rather than from a specific geographic location.

  9. BENEDICTA NAZARETH

    It doesn’t matter to me “what was Jesus’ home address” He was a Jew. He was of the lineage of David through Nathan. Nathan was the younger brother of Solomon. Joseph was of the lineage of King Solomon. Solomon’s dynasty came to an end when King Jehoakim was taken as a prisoner by Pharaoh Neco. He died in Egypt. So the kings of Israel became subject to foreign rule. Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem…. We know Of Yeshua’s lineage and His birthplace as prophesied. We also know that Joseph and Mary were compelled to go to Bethlehem for census. What is most important for us to know is that Yeshua is our Messiah, he atoned for our sins, died and rose again on third day as prophesied.

  10. Robyne Downey

    Thank you we often take things at face value and don’t look into the real message that is behind the words. It is obvious now that you have said it that Yeshua was from the land of Judah as that was his lineage. That he was raised in another region was due to the threat that Herod posed to the child he was at the time. I think the missing years of his childhood help to create this confusion in the readers mind as there is not a blow by blow, year by year account of his childhood. Again thank you for you insight and knowledge.

    1. BENEDICTA NAZARETH

      Sometime ago Katherine Kulman, a healing evangelist found this book on missing years of Jesus childhood. This book was written by a most imaginative person who claimed to have interviewed people who knew Yeshua, Mary… There was a uproar in the evangelical circle and the book was banned from printing. Benny Hinn managed to have this book printed and began his teaching on it. This too subsided. I think you can search the web under different key words and even at Amazon.com or write to Benny Hinn ministries. I can tell you all the contents of the book are fiction. Holy Spirit has not revealed this because it is unimportant.

    2. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Thanks for your input!