In times of national agitation the number of pilgrims rose enormously. Large assemblies of pilgrims in Jerusalem seem to have had a political significance, as diverse evidence shows. Thus it was a political reason which in AD 6 brought together in Jerusalem countless multitudes of armed Jews from Galilee, Idumea, Jericho, Perea and especially Judaea. The other factor which from time to time increased the size of the caravans from other parts of Palestine to an exceptional degree, was the fact that Jerusalem was bound to be the objective of every messianic movement. Galilee was the main seat of anti-Roman feeling and messianic ideas, and Pilate's measures in the Holy Place against the Galilean Passover pilgrims (Luke 13:1) were scarcely taken without good reason. Most of Jesus' followers were in Galilee, but, most important of all, Galilee gave birth to the Zealot party who in time took into their hands the destiny of the whole nation. Judas, whose rebellion (AD 6-7) against the Romans gave the decisive impetus to the spread of the Zealot movement, came from Galilee, and his father Hezekiah was already leader of a partisan group who fought in Galilee against Herod. Judas' son Menahem was one of the chief leaders in the rebellion against Rome in AD 66. For these movements the journeys to Jerusalem at feast times were the accepted means of contact with the Holy City.

 

from page 73, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus