54 – Judean Mission Begins
Where: Bethany, Perea
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Jesus passed through Sychar [today] and the Wadi Farah and down to the Jordan Valley. Then Jesus led the disciples south beside the Jordan River. Jesus crossed the Jordan River into Perea and set up his new home at Bethany on the Plains of Moab [where John the Baptist had centered his activities] and not far from where Jesus had been baptized by John.
Jesus then organized virtually all of his disciples for his Judean mission. Jesus and the apostles had done this before. The procedure was simple and the pattern familiar. While Jesus was healing, teaching, and preaching near Bethany, his disciples would travel the roads through out Judea. They would enter a village or town and go to the water source (spring, well, or river) or another gathering place. They would try to strike up a casual conversation. Then they would listen to the people to find out if there was an expressed need for God’s help. Then the disciples would talk about Israel’s hope for the coming Kingdom and tell the folks that the Messiah was already alive and might be coming by soon.
If a person or group were interested, they might gather their family and friends together to meet the team to learn more. If the folks were still interested, the disciples would then set up a tentative meeting for them with Jesus. One of the disciples would travel back to Bethany in Perea to inform Jesus of the meeting (if there was a problem the disciples would return to the village with an alternative suggestion). The partner stayed in the village with the interested folk and ministered to them as best he could. Then when Jesus arrived, he would meet with those who were truly interested.
During his time in Bethany, Perea [today], and as the seventy came and went, Jesus, was challenged on the subject of divorce. Married folks should be married for life, though Moses did allow divorce. God demanded strict adherence to the Spirit of the Law whether one was married or single.
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