In the early 30s Jesus’ situation as governor at Prince Antipas’ court became more difficult. Then it came to an open conflict.

Yad Vashem, olive tree
Yad Vashem, olive tree

On 18 October 31 AD in Rome, the equestrian Sejanus, Emperor Tiberius’ delegate, was deposed and immediately executed on the emperor’s orders.

This happened because Sejanus had sought a familiar link to the imperial family and was suspected of aiming to succeed the emperor. This made Jesus’ position less safe, as his position in Galilee was similar to that of Sejanus in Rome.


Jesus became Antipas’ governor (prime minister) for Galilee and Perea in 6 AD; Matt. 4:1-11; 1 Kings 13. The narratives of Jesus’ temptations describe Jesus’ participation in worldly power

Jerusalem, Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Jerusalem, Church of the Holy Sepulchre

at Antipas’ side. After Jesus quarrelled with Antipas the latter was seen as the devil, and after Christianity turned into a pure religion without political ambitions, Jesus’ participation in secular power was no longer politically correct. The Christians now stated that Jesus rejected a position of power, making him the model for Christian behaviour in this context as well.

There is an Old Testament parallel to the story of the temptations in 1 Kings 13, where the Man of God (= Jesus) also rejects a share in the power offered by Jeroboam I (= Antipas). In the stories about the prophet Elisha (= Jesus) however, his cooperation with King Ahab (= Antipas) is described quite openly.


The statement in Matt. 13:55 that Jesus was son of a “tekton” should be translated as Jesus is also

Jerusalem, Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Jerusalem, Church of the Holy Sepulchre

one of the tektons, as in the parallel verse Mark 6:3. In Semite culture the word “son” was used to indicated belonging. The Greek word tekton can mean a building worker; it can also mean an architect, a master builder or house builder.

Jesus is described as a tekton, an architect and master builder, because he was commissioned by Prince Antipas to build the city of Tiberias, Galilee’s new capital city.

The idea that the craftsman’s son Jesus could have acquired all his wisdom through divine inspiration rather than by hard study contradicts the principle of Occam’s Razor, whereby the simplest solution is the correct one.


Jesus received the classical education of the Roman upper class in Rome from 8 to 4 BC, along with

Jerusalem, Via dolorosa
Jerusalem, Last Supper Room

Herod’s sons Archelaus, Antipas and Philip: Ant. 17.1.3; Luke 2:41ff.; cf. Acts 13:1. The Herodian princes were sent to Rome to continue their education around 8 BC. I assume that Jesus was also sent to Rome to study with them.

Herod and his sons needed capable administrators and diplomats who were loyal to the king and his family. A good education would have been the prerequisite for Jesus’ later career.

The story of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple shows that traditions suggesting that Jesus was well-educated already existed.


Jesus was the son of an upper-class Jewish family: 1 Sam. 16; 1 Kings 19:19ff.; Luke 2:1ff. If Jesus had advanced from the lower class,

Jerusalem, Via dolorosa
Jerusalem, Via dolorosa

there should be stories about his social rise like those by Aesop, the Greek writer of the fables: see Wolfgang Müller (ed.): Das Leben Aesops, Leipzig 1974.

Jesus was brought up at King Herod’s court: 1 Sam. 16:14ff. The account of how David comes to King Saul’s court is a story about Jesus.

From his youth onwards, Jesus was friends with Herod’s son Antipas: 1 Sam. 18:1-4. The stories about David and Jonathan relate to Jesus and Antipas.


Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea: Matt. 2:1; Luke 2:4; Michah 5:1. The prophecy in Micah 5:1

Jerusalem, Last Supper Room
Jerusalem, Last Supper Room

was only formulated in Jesus’ time. Bethlehem was the only place close to Herod’s court, the castle of Herodion.

The identification of Nazara with the town Nazareth and of Nazoraios and Nazarenos as meaning from Nazareth is a later legend. The terms Nazara, Nazoraios, Nazarenos are all derived from the Hebrew NaZUR, meaning preserved.

I assume that this refers to the governor’s immunity that is also mentioned in the story of the temptation in Matt. 4:1ff and Luke 4:1ff (on the pinnacle of the temple).

The reason behind this is as follows: when someone was stoned, the condemned person was pushed down a slope and then stones were thrown at him. In Luke 4:29 Jesus is taken to a mountainside to be stoned, but the punishment is not carried out.

In the story of the temptations, this refers to the accusation of blasphemy that was punished by stoning. Satan (= Antipas) is able to save Jesus by granting him immunity.


Antipas appears in Christian tradition in the accounts of the star and the massacre of the infants in Bethlehem,

Israel, St. George's Monastery
Israel, St. George’s Monastery

though his name is not mentioned.

It was Antipas whose future kingship was indicated by the appearance of the star, according to the astrologers, and Antipas who escaped the massacre of the infants in Bethlehem.

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