Hostility toward Jesus by the religious leaders developed first in Jerusalem and Judea and then it spread to Galilee. Consequently, He traveled east, crossed the Jordan River, and entered the province of Perea (modern Jordan), where John the Baptist had preached only a few years earlier. There He was beyond the reach of the Sanhedrin and He could teach His disciples and other followers in peace.
East of the Jordan River and several miles south of the Sea of Galilee, the Yarmuk Valley branched off toward the east. In ancient times the Jews passed through the Yarmuk on their way to and from Babylon and Persia. It is also where Elijah hid from King Ahab (1 Kg. 17:2-6). Since it was a popular travel route, Herod the Great had a small palace-fortress there, and some scholars believe the magi may have returned to their homes by way of the road along the Yarmuk Valley (see also 04.04.07). Since Jews lived in the surrounding communities, it was an ideal place for Jesus to minister. The areas where He traveled cover a large distance and are today in modern Jordan and the Golan of Israel. They are as follows:
- John 1:28 Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, possibly the same location as Bethabara (05.03.01).
- John 1:28 Bethabara. The name means “house of the ford; place of crossing.” Some believe it is east of the Dead Sea, perhaps where the Wadi Shuayb reaches the Jordan Valley, but the most popular opinion is the area north of the Dead Sea and east of Jericho along the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized (05.03.01).
- Mk 5:20 The region of the Gerasenes. The area north and south of the Yarmuk River, includes the city of Gadara (08.06.03).
- Jn 10:42 The region of Perea, an area south of the Jabbok River, known to the Jews as Gilead (10.01.10).
- Mark 7:31 Region of the Decapolis (10.01.24).
- Mk 8:1-10 Dalmanutha feeding of 4,000 (10.01.26).
- Mt. 16:13-20 Caesarea Philippi, where Peter acknowledged Jesus as being the Anointed One (10.01.29).
. Pixner, With Jesus in Jerusalem. 37.