Why would Jesus go into Galilee and want to meet the disciples there? Some skeptics think this is a weak point in the Gospel narratives. It just doesn’t seem to make sense and therefore can’t be authentic. Some passages are hard to understand and don’t seem to make much sense at first glance. But, as with with the parables, those who desire to dig deeper can and will find the meaning.
I want to list out for you 4 reasons why Jesus probably chose Galilee
- The Jews of that day had a belief that the soul of the departed hovered over the tomb for several days after death. If Jesus met the disciples in Galilee then there would be no suspicion that the post-resurrection appearances were of this kind. (Cf. Edersheim, Life, II, 631). Nobody could claim that the disciples only saw Jesus’ ghost hovering around his tomb.
- This was a call to faith. Jesus had been warning them that he would be killed but would rise from the dead (Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:34, Luke 9:22). For them to go to Galilee with he purpose of meeting him there would be an act of faith. They would have to believe the eye-witness testimony of the women that they saw Jesus alive from the dead. They would also have to believe that Jesus was going to appear to them. This would separate them from the highly emotional environment of Jerusalem which might be seen as a place that could lend motivation for hallucinations. instead they traveled miles away with time to calm down their emotions. If they were to meet Jesus in Galilee it would not be a mirage but the real person.
- His location would allow Jesus to easily choose the witnesses of His resurrection. Sure Jesus is God but he still works within the parameters of free-will. The Passover pilgrims would be going home and a remote mountain in Galilee would be a good location to meet with his disciples alone without chance of interruption.
- Galilee is home. This shows the brilliant wisdom of our Lord. He knew the psychological state of the disciples at this point. Surely they were broken and in despair, probably even frightened. Judas was dead, Thomas was alone in his own dark depression, the others were confused. His goal would be to regroup this band of soon to be Apostles and reconstruct their faith. Whenever a young person destroys their life and needs to find security, oftentimes (all things being equal) they go back home. Home is where they find security, love, remembrance of the good times, a sense of belonging, etc…Jesus knew that taking them back to Galilee would help remind them of their time with Jesus, the successes, the miracles, casting out demons, healing the sick, preaching to the multitudes. It would take them out of the hostile environment of Jerusalem; the place of conflict, the attacks of the Jewish leaders, the place of death. In Galilee they would find it easier to see the mission of world evangelism.
So why Galilee? Because it served every purpose that Jerusalem could not. The Lord knew best and he has always known what he is doing. Just like the disciples probably did not know why they had to go to Galilee so people today don’t know why Jesus chose Galilee. The real question is will we trust the Lord and believe he knows what he is doing?