December, A.U.C. 778 – Spring, 779. (Cf. John 1:2; Matthew 3:4; Mark 1; Luke 3:4)
Jesus abandons His hidden life in Nazareth, and goes to Bethania across the Jordan, where He is baptized by John and receives the Baptist’s first testimony to His Divine mission. He then withdraws into the desert of Judea, where He fasts for forty days and is tempted by the devil. After this He dwells in the neighbourhood of the Baptist’s ministry, and receives the latter’s second and third testimony; here too He wins His first disciples, with whom He journeys to the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee, where He performs His first miracle. Finally He transfers His residence, so far as there can be question of a residence in His public life, to Capharnaum, one of the principal thoroughfares of commerce and travel in Galilee.
Passover, A.U.C. 779 – about Pentecost, 780. (Cf. John 2-5; Mark 1-3; Luke 4-7; Matthew 4-9)
Jesus goes from Capharnaum to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover; here he expels the buyers and sellers from the Temple, and is questioned by the Jewish authorities. Many believed in Jesus, and Nicodemus came to converse with Him during the night. After the festival days He remained in Judea till about the following December, during which period He received the fourth testimony from John who was baptizing at Ennon (A.V. Aenon). When the Baptist had been imprisoned in Machaerus, Jesus returned to Galilee by way of Samaria where He met the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well near Sichar; He delayed two days in this place, and many believed in Him.
Soon after His return into Galilee we find Jesus again in Cana, where He heard the prayer who pleaded for the recovery of his dying son in Capharnaum. The rejection of Jesus by the people of Nazareth, whether at this time as, St. Luke intimates, or at a later period, as St. Mark seems to demand, or again both now and about eight months later, is an exegetical problem we cannot solve here. At any rate, shortly afterwards Jesus is mostly actively engaged in Capharnaum in teaching and healing the sick, restoring among others Peter’s mother-in-law and a demoniac. On this occasion He called Peter and Andrew, James and John. Then followed a missionary tour through Galilee during which Jesus cured a leper; soon he again taught in Capharnaum, and was surrounded by such a multitude that a man sick of the palsy had to be let down through the roof in order to reach the Sacred Presence. After calling Matthew to the Apostleship, He went to Jerusalem for the second pasch occurring during His public life, it was on this occasion that He healed the man who been sick for thirty-eight years near the pool at Jerusalem. The charge of violating the Sabbath and Christ’s answer were the natural effects of the miracle. The same charge is repeated shortly after the pasch; Jesus had returned to Galilee, and the disciples plucked some ripe ears in the corn fields. The question became more acute in the immediate future; Jesus had returned to Capharnaum, and there healed on the Sabbath day a man who had a withered hand. The Pharisees now make common cause with the Herodians in order to “destroy him”. Jesus withdraws first to the Sea of Galilee, where He teaches and performs numerous miracles; then retires to the Mountain of Beatitudes, where He prays during the night, chooses His Twelve Apostles in the morning, and preaches the Sermon on the Mount. He is brought back to Capharnaum by the prayers of the centurion who asks and obtains the of his servant.