The episode highlights two findings. (1) There was abroad, at least in the region of Lake Galilee itself, a popular conception of the roval Messiah, who would echo the great events of Israel's first liberation of Canaan and fulfil the prophetic hope of a prosperous new age under a new Davidic king. Such a king, we might note, Pilate would certainlv want to crucifv for obvious political and mili-tarv reasons. Jesus was probablv seen bv manv in Galilee as at least potentiallv such a Messiah. (2) More interesting, however, is the clear implication that Jesus reacted against this role. The reaction presumablv implies that he saw the role as a misleading or false characterisation of his mission. And even if the role had
156. We recall the two figures who attempted to repeat the miracles of the initial conquest of the Promised Land — the crossing of the Jordan and the fall of the walls of Jericho (Josephus, Ant. 20.97, 169-70).
157. Cf. Witherington, Christology 98-101, who also suggests that the feeding of the five thousand was the last act of Jesus' Galilean ministrv This suggestion would meet Fredriksen's argument that a messianic claim could not have been voiced in Galilee (she places the feeding on the lake's western shore) without provoking Antipas to suppress it (Jesus any attraction to him,158 a wise man would recognize the inflammability of the Galilean crowd and its potential fickleness. The lesson learned or confirmed here would go a long way to explain Jesus' reticence in other situations.
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