The Layman's Gospel Harmony

Period 3 -- The First Witness to Judea
A Full Year, Spring to Spring, 27-28 AD
From Christ's First Ministerial Passover to His Second Passover After John's Arrest

As reported by:

John 2:13 - 5:47

3,116 KJV Words

A Sample Page of the Groundbreaking, Precision, Graphically Visualized Chronological
Research from the Twice Award Winning The Layman's Gospel Harmony
by Nathaniel Huntting Sherrill:

This version of graphic is found on page 270 of The Layman's Gospel Harmony.

Christ's First Witness to Judea -- "The Anonymous Year" of Period 3:

"He came unto his own, and his own received him not." -- John 1:11

Following his initial ministerial seclusion in Capernaum recounted in Period 2 of The Layman's Gospel Harmony chronology, Jesus' first bold declaration of himself as the foretold Jewish Christ to the Temple establishment in Jerusalem takes place in the sabbatically significant seventh month of his messianic witness. It is the month of Nisan, in the spring of 27 AD, and the time of the most holy of Jewish Feasts, the Passover, with its two associated holy Feasts of the seven day holy week of Unleavened Bread. Jesus is now fully 30 years old and, per the strictures of the Torah (Numbers 4), he is qualified to serve at the Temple.

However Jesus has no plan to serve in the Temple. This day he will declare himself to be God's living third Temple to which Herod's towering marvel of gleaming stone and gold could never compare. But first, as John reports, Jesus fashions a whip from small cords and chases away all the money changers and sacrificial animals and scatters the money and tables of commerce. "Make not my Father's home an house of merchandise" he announces (John 2:16b), alluding to Deuteronomy 21:14, a commandment prohibiting the selling of a conquered kingdom's captured women of beauty as "merchandise" (let the reader infer the implied connotations thereof).

Notwithstanding the centuries of utterly stagnant and blind scholarly tradition which sees John's Gospels as rich in symbolic spiritual flourishes and non-historical in content, John is accurately reporting the first of two Temple cleansing acts committed by Christ. The three synoptic writers report the second cleansing at Christ's fourth, final Passover. There is no logical reasoning justifying a single Temple cleansing that is more compelling than the logic justifying two cleansings. For if
Daniel's prophecies of the Jewish Christ's advent in the envisioned 490-year period of divine reconciliation with Israel are true, then John's Period 3 report of Jesus' first ministerial appearance at the Temple for the Passover in spring, 27 AD, is the sole record of the most auspicious event in all of human history to that date. Jesus is just as likely to make a daring declaration of himself at his first Passover as at his last Passover.

If it is the 484th year of Daniel's envisioned reconciliation period, then Christ's seventh month in ministry occurs in the seventh calendar month of the Jewish year, which is also the first month of the Jewish calendar's annual worship cycle of seven holy Feasts. This seven month long worship cycle completes in the first month of the new civil year. Thus the Jewish calendar, driven by the celestial cycles of the sun and moon (Genesis 1:14), integrates historic, chronological time with liturgical devotion through two synchronized, overlapping, ever-evolving sabbatical cycles. Jesus the Christ steps center stage into the sacred time and space of that sabbatically ordered calendar construct as the foci of its significance -- it was, in fact, created solely for him. This rich and deeply layered spiritual picture of the Christ's advent will nonetheless remain lost to modern Christian awareness as long as the teaching of the historical accuracy of the Gospels remains abandoned by the Church.

Little does the Temple priestly establishment know that Christ will, at Passover three years hence, be revealed in resurrection as the third living Temple of God. Throughout John's report of the Period 3 phase, which chronicles a full year, High Priest Caiaphas and his clique of loyal Temple power elites will steadfastly deny acknowledging Christ for who he claims to be and while he and his disciples engage in a baptismal ministry comparable to, and simultaneous with, John the Baptist's ministry relocated further north up the Jordan River at Aenon near Salim (John 3:23). It must have been a lonely, heartbreaking, bitter experience of rejection which Christ first faced, and this should be a point of deep contemplation for any follower of Christ:

If there is virtue in failing, then Christ -- "despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows,
and acquainted with grief..." (Isaiah 53:3) -- experienced failure deeply in that first year
of Period 3 outreach in Judea, and he teaches through it by example. However the deep
spiritual truth taught by Christ in his failed Period 3 Judean outreach is lost on modern
Christian consciousness along with the historicity of the events involved if accurate
Gospel historicity is not advocated and taught by the Church.

The Underestimated Historic Import of John's Period 3 Report:

From a broader perspective, it must be remembered that John's Gospel is the sole source which can confirm the plausibility of Daniel's prophecies of the Christ's 3.5 year messianic witness:
  • John 1:19-2:12 is the only Gospel account of Christ's first sixth months of ministry after the synoptic reports of his baptism and 40-day wilderness test.
and even more importantly . . .
  • John 2:13-5:47 is the only Gospel account of the year long Period 3 phase and the first two of Christ's four ministerial Passovers (27 AD and 28 AD) required by a 3.5 year messianic witness.

Without John's framing reports of these first two Passovers, the synoptic reports of Mark, Matthew, and Luke appear to report a ministry period of less than one year. This is because they report only the one Passover of Christ's Passion. (John, again, is the sole source citing the third Passover in Galilee of 29 AD). The premise of a ministry of less than a year was actually advocated in some past Christian scholarship which, amazingly, deemed John's Gospel a non-biblical text unworthy of canonization.

The importance of the historic frame of John chapters 1-5 (Harmony Periods 2-3) must not be underestimated. The reader of the synoptic gospels only naturally assumes Jesus proceeded directly to Galilee upon completing his 40-day wilderness test. The potential of this gross misunderstanding of Gospel chronology is nowhere more graphically demonstrated than in the two verses Mark 1:13-14. Through no fault of Mark, the 18-month period covered by John chapters 1-5 is totally obscured by the 16th century chapter and verse notation. (The Layman's Gospel Harmony offers sound speculation on why the synoptic writers skip over the 18 month "anonymous" period of Christ's ministry.)

Historically cognizant chapter and verse notation would have begun the Mark chapter 2 Galilee report with what is now Mark 1:14. Eventually the truth will be faced that Christianity's beloved chapter and verse notation is notorious for constantly thwarting comprehension of the Gospels as accurate historic records. The Layman's Gospel Harmony's method of harmonizing the four texts with a superseding 1-200 gospel "Scene" notation sequence is the most simple and direct way of retaining the traditional chapter and verse notation of the Gospels while neutralizing the system's negative effects.

Lost Reading Comprehension = Lost Gospel Historicity:

Not only does traditional chapter and verse thwart comprehension of the Gospels as historic records. Modern Christian education has failed to promote devotional reading of the Gospels to ascertain their historic character using even basic high school reading comprehension skills. Such skills would clarify the use of classic narrative techniques such as flashback, flash forward, foreshadowing, digression, etc., in the Gospels which inform their narrative and historic structures. Poorly instructed Christian readers of the Gospels are also oblivious to the Gospel writers' occasional use of irony, humor, or other tonal effects which convey important "editorial" comment on events being reported. One tragic result of this problem is that Christ's use of humor, hyperbole, and even occasional satire (of his critics, much to the amusement of onlooking crowds) in his dynamic teaching method are completely lost on the average Christian.

The present functional illiteracy of the Gospels as histories produces many egregious errors of misunderstanding. Prominent among these errors is Christendom's complete non-comprehension of the critical historic content of John's brooding and somber chapter 5 which signals the end of the Harmony's Period 3 phase. Specifically, John 5:1, the single the most historically pivotal verse of all 3,779 verses of the Gospels (King James Version), has been overlooked or grossly misinterpreted by Christian academia and Christian leadership for generations.  

In verse 5:1, John intentionally uses irony to diminish the significance of the second Passover of 28 AD in light of momentous events: he leaves it unnamed as merely "a feast." In failing to ascertain both the historic context and import of John's irony, the Church has unwittingly abandoned the classical Christian premise of Daniel's prophecies concerning the Christ's 3.5 year messianic witness. Scores of world renowned Christian scholars, seemingly blinded to the details of John's nuanced report, had concluded that since the feast isn't named, it is not a significant matter. Nothing could be further from truth. For there can be no 3.5 year messianic witness unless the unnamed "feast" of John 5:1 is a Passover.

Rising up in the theological vacuum of Daniel's abandoned prophecy of the Christ's 3.5 year, four Passover, messianic witness is the regrettable spate of pseudo-historical dispensational skeins which grossly and shamefully misapply Daniel's glorious prophecy of the Christ's advent to a mock advent of the antichrist of Revelation in "end times." These subversive fringe theories are the equivalent of heretical medieval superstitions. They discredit the Christian faith, thinking Christians, and Christ himself before the onlooking world. They are a primary cause of the collapse of evangelicalism in the western Church -- an effect linked directly back to the Church's present functional illiteracy of the Gospels as accurate historic records.

The Layman's Gospel Harmony research offers a first step in a new devotional direction for 21st century Christians. Exploring classical Christian doctrine with state of the art calendar chronology research and sensitive reading comprehension analysis, The Layman's Gospel Harmony provides the most penetrating and revealing rediscovery of the plausible history of the Period 3 phase of Christ's ministry ever produced for the global Christian community to affirm the Gospels as accurate histories.

Finally, properly seen in its historic milieu, Christ's Period 3 "failure" in Judea galvanizes him with great purpose and resolve as he launches into his stunning, paradigm shifting, year long messianic witness in Galilee in the next phase of The Layman's Gospel Harmony research, Period 4 -- Magnificent Galilee:

"And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went
a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their
synagogues, being glorified of all."-- Luke 4:14-15