From among his followers, Jesus selected twelve for special responsibility. After instructing them, he sent them out two by two to preach the same good news throughout Galilee.

Jesus’ Last Journey to Jerusalem.
Image source: © Carta, Jerusalem

Some weeks later they returned full of enthusiasm at what they reckoned to be a very successful mission. But in their enthusiasm they had roused the suspicion of Herod Antipas, who began to feel that in Jesus he had another John the Baptist on his hands.

Jesus took his disciples quickly across the lake, into the tetrarchy of Philip. Even there they were pursued by crowds from Galilee who, after Jesus had fed them with bread and fish near Bethsaida, tried to compel him to become their king. The kingdom of God, as they saw it, was an independent Jewish state, to be set up after a victorious war against the Romans and the Herods. Jesus taught people not to use violence nor return evil for evil.

He would not attack the ruling powers with their own weapons. When he taught humility, meekness and self-denial this was indeed more revolutionary than anything the most extreme nationalists could think of. His example of serving others rather than receiving service himself, to the point of giving his life as “a ransom for many”, a new way of resisting oppression.