Expedition Unknown is an adventure show featuring Josh Gates going to cool places around the world doing amazing things. But there are regular pokes against the Christian faith, and the latest one comes from the town of Jesus’ Birth.
In the episode he is talking to someone that the birthplace of Jesus is not in Bethlehem, but in Galilee. The man he is working with points him to this Scripture in John 7:40-41:
On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”
Others said, “He is the Messiah.”
Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee?
An exuberant Josh Gates exclaims something along the lines of “Aha! There it is. There are two different versions of Jesus’ birth, so which one is the true one?”
He’s definitely proclaiming the Bible as contradictory and therefore saying which one is true? Jesus of Bethlehem in Judea or Jesus born in Galilee?
Because of the John 7 narrative where someone says, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee,” he uses that as the “gotcha.” But I’m sure that as an archaeologist has has read the Bible and I do think Josh had some Christian roots. But let’s look at the text as plain as it is.
Because of the census we read about in Luke, Mary and Joseph must travel to Bethlehem in Judea to register in their home town as the law required. Jesus is born there. But they register and I’m sure it didn’t take terribly long, a couple of weeks perhaps to get the baby strong enough to travel, and then they head back to the city of Nazareth in Galilee. It’s about a two day journey, maybe three with a baby.
Jesus grows up in Galilee although for a time he is in Egypt. They were refugees running from the King’s reign of terror.
It’s really pretty simple. Jesus does indeed “come” from Nazareth in Galilee. He was raised there. His family is there. His cultural identity is there. In all intents and purposes, he was “from” Galilee. Was he born there? No.
So this “aha” proclamation is kind of absurd. Almost like saying that Jesus was Egyptian because he was there for a season.
Think for a moment of someone was traveling from Idaho (far north) to Texas (far south). Along the way the mother has an unexpected birth in Utah (just south of Idaho). They go to the hospital, deliver the baby, and when the baby is strong enough, they continue on their journey to their home in Texas.
The baby is raised in Texas, speaks Texan-like, has a cowboy hat, Ford F-150, and is a wee bit independent. Now is that grown man an Idaho-an? Or a Texan? Is he from Idaho? Or from Texas? It isn’t rocket science.
But the truth is because a tv personality says these things, 99/100 who do not know the Bible will endorse his statements as true with fact-checking. Josh seems like a great guy and his adventures are the envy of the many, but this is kind of crazy. Just read the text plainly for what it says.
Just because it says Jesus “came from Galilee” doesn’t mean he was born there. It simply means he was raised there just like all the documents say.