Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;
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Cornelius a Lapide
When Jesus had heard, &c. Matthew ,, Mark , and Luke all omit the embassy of the Jews to John the Baptist, asking him if he were the Messiah. To this first year of Christ"s ministry pertain also the turning water into wine, the driving the buyers and sellers out of the temple, and the discourse with Nicodemus. These all took place before the imprisonment of the Baptist, and are related only by S. John. For before his imprisonment Christ had committed to John the work of preaching, but now He took that office upon Himself. Moreover, when Christ heard of John"s imprisonment, He departed out of Judæa into Galilee, because He fled from Herod, that he might not imprison Him as he had done John. In Galilee, therefore, he began solemnly to preach, that He might fulfil Isaiah"s prophecy, of which more presently.
You may say—Herod reigned in Galilee, not in Judæa. Why then did Christ, to avoid Herod, flee into Galilee? I reply, because John , preaching in Judæa, near Jericho, and gathering toge...
Jesus then left the wilderness, and passed a few day on the banks of the Jordan, affording his holy precursor an opportunity of bearing repeated testimony of him and of his divine mission, as we read in the first chap. of St. John, and then retired into Upper Galilee to avoid the fury of the Jews. There were two Galilees, that of the Jews and that of the Gentiles; this latter was given by the king of Tyre to king Solomon. (St. Jerome) This conduct of Jesus Christ, shows that on some occasions it is not only lawful, but advisable, to flee from persecution. (St. Chrysostom)
Jesus Christ enters more publicly on his mission, and about to occupy the place of his precursor, the baptist, he chooses Galilee for the first theatre of his ministry, the place assigned by the ancient prophets. The Pharisees had prevailed upon Herod to arrest the baptist, nor could their hatred be less to Jesus Christ, who drew a still greater concourse of disciples after him.
1. Wherefore does He depart? Again instructing us not to go to meet temptations, but to give place and withdraw ourselves. For it is no reproach, the not casting one's self into danger, but the failing to stand manfully when fallen into it. To teach us this accordingly, and to soothe the envy of the Jews, He retires to Capernaum; at once fulfilling the prophecy, and making haste to catch the teachers of the world: for they, as you know, were abiding there, following their craft.