What’s with resurrection and Galilee?
The executed Jesus has been raised from death, and his first instruction is to ‘go to Galilee’. The angels’ instruction was clear & Jesus himself was insistent; his friends were to go to Galilee and that is where they would see him.
And they did. There he shared breakfast on the beach with them. There he encouraged them… and had the hard conversations. And there he commissioned them.
But why Galilee? Why not remain around Jerusalem, for that was surely the epicentre of social, political, and religious ‘power’.
Maybe because Jesus was – both literally and metaphorically – ‘at home’ in Galilee. This was where he had grown up, where he had embarked on his Kingdom vocation, where his first miracle was witnessed, and where his closest friends had joined him.
He seldom seems to have felt truly ‘at home’ in Jerusalem. At times the place made him angry and at times it made him weep, but he could never really trust this ‘seat of power’. When he did need to engage with the city, he would often retreat to nearby Bethany.
Perhaps there is a metaphor here for us.
We are easily drawn to what seems to be the place of power, of maximum impact and greatest influence. The place where we will be most clearly seen and noticed. The ‘control centre’.
The gravitational attraction is strong towards Jerusalem-type places… and positions… and people; the temptation hard to resist. It appeals to our pride, especially when the crowds are cheering.
And sometimes we are called to engage in this space. But when we do so it is best to approach like our master; almost as an outsider, a king who is ‘…humble, and riding on a donkey.’ (Zec 9:9) For the shouts of the crowd may not always be what we imagine.
It’s often better to find our ‘Galilee space’. A place we know well, and where we are well known. A place of old friends and of new steps with God. A place where power flows freely but is held meekly. Where we have learned (to use Eugene Peterson’s beautiful phrase) “The unforced rhythms of grace.” A favourite place to have a fresh encounter with a resurrected king.
Jesus said he would meet his friends there. And he did.
Perhaps he says the same to us. And he will.