Jesus’ Final Journey to Jerusalem

01 Feb
Journey to Jerusalem

from Google Images

In Luke 18:31 Jesus embarks on his final journey to Jerusalem, but lots of folks believe that Jesus began that trip to Jerusalem at Luke 9:51. Nevertheless, to do so they have to have the Lord meandering aimlessly all around Judea (Luke 10:38), but never quite making it to Jerusalem. After wandering all about Judea, Jesus then turns back to Galilee in order to go through Peraea (Luke 13:22; 16:18; cf. Mark 10:1-12), journeying toward Jerusalem, but, again, never actually getting there. After this, Jesus once more returned to Galilee in order to pass through those cities and Samaria (Luke 17:11) to journey toward Jerusalem, but, once again, he never completes his task. Finally, Jesus is found in Ephraim (John 11:54) and left there to pass through Jericho to approach Jerusalem from the east. All this aimless meandering must be done in order to hold onto the false notion about Jesus began his journey to the cross at Luke 9:51.

Perhaps some read the words: “when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem…” and simply want to believe Jesus bravely went to his prophesied death, just as it was planned from the beginning. While I cannot argue against Jesus’ courage, I don’t need Luke 9:51 to account for that. Reading Luke’s narrative, just as it is, clearly unveils Jesus courage to us. Rather, Jesus went up to Jerusalem at least three more times after he had gone up for the Passover in Luke 9:51, that is, if one simply reads Luke’s account and believes what is easiest to understand (cf. Luke 13:22; 17:11 and 18:31).

After Jesus journeyed toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:51) and came to Bethany, where Martha lived (Luke 10:38), he was only a few miles from Jerusalem, a trip he made several times during the final week in his life (cf. John 12:1, 12-15). Why would it be difficult to believe Jesus went to Jerusalem after he visited Martha (Luke 10:38)? Later, he seems to be speaking in Jerusalem about things that were done in Jerusalem (cf. Luke 13:1-5), such as the event Pilate caused in which he had his soldiers kill Galilean demonstrators who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover (Luke 13:1).[1]

Jesus seems to be in Galilee in Luke 13:10 and then journeying again toward Jerusalem in Luke 13:22 (cf. Luke 16:18 and Matthew 19:1-12). Matthew has Jesus journeying toward Jerusalem from Galilee in Matthew 19:1 and his teaching in Luke 16:18 is similar to that found in Matthew 19:1-12). Therefore, this seems to be yet another journey Jesus made from Galilee to Jerusalem, which cannot be the same event described in Luke 9:51.

On another occasion Jesus passed through the border of Galilee and Samaria on his way to Jerusalem (Luke 17:11). This cannot be the same journey he made in Matthew 19:1, because the blessing of the little children (Luke 18:15-17; cf. Matthew 19:13) and the incident of the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-27; Matthew 19:16-26) occurred after Jesus’ teaching about marriage (Matthew 19:1-12; cf. Luke 16:18), and that teaching occurred before the journey begun in Luke 17:11.

In conclusion, Jesus present and final recorded journey to Jerusalem before his crucifixion is found in Luke 18:31-34 (cf. Matthew 20:17-19; Mark 10:32-34). Clearly, this journey cannot be confused with any of the others. Jesus’ teaching about his death and resurrection always occurs only following a spiritual breakthrough by one or more of his Apostles (cf. Matthew 16:16-17, 21; 17:10-13, 22-23). In Luke 18:28 Peter understood what Jesus concluded about riches and was able to make a correct application to his own life. Therefore, Jesus made another attempt to teach the Apostles about his death and resurrection (Luke 18:31-34), and, in doing so, he includes the fact that they are about to begin another journey to Jerusalem (Matthew 20:17 – Lamsa; Moffatt; Murdock; NASB).


[1] See: Antiquities of the Jews; Book 18; Chapter 3, paragraph 2 (cf. Wars of the Jews; Book 2; Chapter 9, paragraph 4)

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Posted by on February 1, 2018 in Gospel of Luke


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