The Surroundings of Jesus' Ministry
With the exception of Jerusalem, the places associated with Jesus in the Gospel accounts were not particularly important in the wider context of the times. On the other hand, cities which were important, such as Sepphoris, the most important town in Galilee and not far from Nazareth, are not mentioned in the Gospels. Tiberias on the shores of the Sea of Galilee is only mentioned in the context of giving an alternative name for the lake (John 6: 1 ). There is no reference to Caesarea Maritima, the headquarters of the Roman provincial governor, nor to the city of Samaria/Sebaste. (Samaria is mentioned only as a district.) A possible explanation for this is that Jesus avoided such places because of their non‐Jewish character. But it is appropriate to note that Jesus' activity took place in this wider context which included such places with their Hellenistic and pagan ways, typical of the east Mediterranean world of the time. The Gentile world was all around.