What I wonder about Jesus’ times

“And walking by the Sea of Galilee…. And going on from there…. And Jesus was going about in all Galilee….” (Matthew 4:18,21,23).

They walked everywhere they went, the Lord and HIs disciples. In time, walkers know every nuance of a trail, every pothole in a road, every farmhouse and every place to stop for a drink of water.

I wish I could have walked with the Lord and the disciples. What must that have been like?

Often a crowd accompanied them. “And great multitudes followed Him from Galilee and Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan” (Matthew 4:25).

Did they hang back or press in close? Did they talk the whole time or did a holy hush descend on the group?  Was someone in charge–or tried to be–and kept everyone in line? Did they stay with the Lord for days or just for hours? And if for a long time, how were they fed and where did they stay?

I wonder so many things about what that must have been like…

1) What did the Lord and His disciples talk about during those long walks?

2) Did they ever kid one another?  Did they tease the disciple who committed a faux pas back there in the last town?

3) Did they relate funny stories about what some kid had said? or what some elderly person had said? About the funny inconsistencies of the Pharisees?

4) Did they laugh?  Did Jesus laugh? What must that have sounded like?

5) They went to the bathroom of course. But where and how?  (I’m a farm boy, so I think I know. But still….)

6) Was it all spiritual and heavy, or were they relaxed and joyful?

7) Was there a pecking order among the disciples? and if so, how was it established and what form did it take?

8) Why didn’t they tell us these little details in the gospels? (I know, I know. “There are many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books which were written.” John 21:25)

I suppose it’s wonderful that they did not…

1) know about calories and such.  (I know, I know. They were all walkers, got plenty of exercise, and did not have the abundance of calorie-rich food we have, so this would have been irrelevant. But we in this age get so tired of hearing information from food labels.)

2) hear about international relations, wars between countries, conflicts between kings. (That’s what fills our newspapers and the news hours.  It’s so wearisome.)

3) learn about the crime going  on in other cities and other countries. (My newspaper could devote half its space to telling of gruesome killings in towns large and small. Gang wars, road rage, family feuds.)

4) have to deal with a thousand kinds of trash which we have today due to paper plates and cellophane and styrofoam and plastic. (What littered their countryside, if anything? In John 6:12, the Lord instructed the disciples to “gather up the fragments” after the miracle of the fishes and the loaves, “that nothing may be lost.”

5) know the Freudian philosophy of anything. (We get so tired of everyone’s over-analysis of each other’s behavior. He’s this way because his father neglected him or his mother coddled him too much or he was an orphan or he was 13th in a brood of 26 children.)

6) had no television, computers, electronic devices, and such to dominate their lives.  (I know. We get so much valuable information this way. But the downside is enormous.)

7) have electricity to keep them up all night, but went to bed at dark and woke up at dawn.  (My grandparents and theirs before them lived in a world without electricity for most of their lives. And that’s exactly what they did: bedtime was 7 o’clock but they were stirring by 4 am.)  William Manchester wrote a book about medieval times called “A World Lit Only By Fire.”  That could apply to all ages before Mr. Edison came along and started tinkering.

I’m not saying all those primitive conditions were good, only that they were not without their blessings.

It is not good, however, that in the New Testament world…

1) They had the most primitive of medical and dental care.  If a tooth ached, someone pulled it. If your leg broke, you were a cripple the rest of your life. If an appendix burst, you died young.

2) Schooling was so limited and the learning seems not to have progressed from generation to generation.

3) Slavery was ubiquitous.  And if anyone thought that was immoral, it’s hard to tell. It’s just how things were, I expect.

4) Women were seen as “weaker vessels” and mostly occupied secondary roles in society. The reason we hear of a few speaking up and doing fascinating things is because it was so rare.

5) Sanitation must have been lacking, although little is mentioned in Scripture. We do know that the Old Testament had specific teachings on where to dig a latrine in relation to the community, and some similar injunctions. No one had a clue about germs and bacteria, about washing fruits and vegetables, and about washing their hands after visiting the toilet. If they had a toilet.

6) The silence would have been deafening.  Lying in my bed last night, I was listening to a football game on television, a train went by a block north of my house, and the parish truck spraying for mosquitoes drove down the street.  Once in a while, I could hear a plane taking off from the New Orleans International Airport two  miles west, and the nighttime horn of a tanker plowing the mighty Mississippi three blocks south of here could be heard.  Most of these noises my mind tunes out.  What must it have been like living in a world of silence?

7) You would know almost nothing of other lands, and probably never venture more than a hundred miles from home.  The ignorance of everything was overwhelming.

I’m glad to be alive today, even though there is so much I wonder about those earlier times.

What must it have been like to have heard Him, to have seen Him, to have touched Him? (John speaks of this in First John 1:1.)

Someday I will know.

I shall see God. “Whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes shall see and not another.” And no doubt, “my heart (would) faint within me.” (Job 19:26-27).

David thought of this too. “As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awake” (Psalm 17:15).

“Face to face with Christ my Savior,

Face to face what will it be,

When with rapture I behold Him,

Jesus Christ who died for me?

What rejoicing in His presence,

When are banished grief and pain;

When the crooked ways are straightened,

And the dark things shall be plain.”

(Carrie E. Beck, 1898)

“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for Thee, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2).

“Even so, come Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20)


Maybe I’m being unrealistic in thinking I’d liked to have walked with the Lord and His disciples. After a mile or two, all the romance of those long walks would have disappeared and the reality of the harsh lives they lived would have set in.

It reminds me of the time I took my little grandson with me to pick blueberries in the community of Talisheek, Louisiana.  Grant must have been four or five at the time, and he was excited. From the back seat of the car, he talked nonstop about this, occasionally asking the usual “How much longer, Grandpa?”  The drive took longer than I had remembered, over an hour.

Finally, we arrived, checked in at the farmhouse, and gathered small buckets and stepped into the field where rows of blueberry plants stood head tall.  Grant started picking the lovely little blue gems and eating the occasional one. “This is fun, Grandpa,” he said.  Then, after five minutes, that sweet little voice (I can hear it yet) said, “Okay, Grandpa. I’m through. I’m ready to go home.”

I had to say, “Grant, we can’t go home until we fill both these buckets.”

“But Grandpa, that’s going to take a long time!”

And it did. An hour or more.

I expect I’d have been a lot like that with the Lord.

“Okay, Lord, I’m ready to be there. How much further to Capernaum? And you’re telling me we’re going to have to walk all the way to Jerusalem?  How far is that? A hundred miles! You’re kidding.  You’re not?”

1 thought on “What I wonder about Jesus’ times

  1. Gotta disagree on one point my friend… I live in the middle of nowhere and LOVE the deafening silence!! 🙂

    Very thought provoking; I appreciate your writings brother Joe.

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