Jesus’ fatherland (πατρίς) in all the gospels is Galilee.
In the Synoptics, the people of Galilee were offended by Jesus and did not believe in him.1
57 So they were offended in him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.”
Consequently, Jesus did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.2 Instead, Jesus did mighty works outside of Galilee, including in Jerusalem.3
23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. NKJV, ©1982
Peculiarly, the nature of these miracles in Jerusalem during the feast are not recorded by the author. Heinrich Meyer commented,4
Not one5 from this time period6 is preserved for us (John 20:30 cf. John 4:45). Therefore, not only the Synoptics, but also John, summarily summarizes a multitude of miracles without relating individual ones from it.
After performing miracles in Jerusalem during Passover, many in Jerusalem believed in him. Then, Jesus eventually leaves Jerusalem (and Judea) and returns to Galilee, after briefly transiting Samaria.7
43 Now after the two days He departed from there and went to Galilee. 44 For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. NKJV, ©1982
The most important aspect of the narrative (with respect to resolving the question) is in v. 45.
45 Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast. NKJV, ©1982
The Galileans now received Jesus, although before, they had been offended in him and did not believe in him. What changed? Many Galileans were in Jerusalem and saw the miracles (mighty works) that Jesus performed there. They saw how others honored Jesus (as a prophet and as the Messiah) and how they believed in him.
- Jesus leaves Galilee (his fatherland) because the Galileans did not honor him, nor did they believe in him, despite the mighty works he had did there.
- He performs mighty works and signs in Jerusalem during Passover and elsewhere outside Galilee, whereby he is honored by those people, and many of those people believe in him.
- Jesus eventually returns to Galilee and then receives honor from the Galileans because many of the Galileans were in Jerusalem and saw how other people there honored him and believed in him on account of the mighty works he performed there.
In summary, Jesus leaves his fatherland Galilee because they will not honor him, and he only returns to his fatherland Galilee once the Galileans in Jerusalem witness Jesus receive honor from others on account of the mighty works he performed in Jerusalem and elsewhere outside Galilee.
Heinrich Meyer comments,8
The words give the reason why He did not hesitate to return to Galilee. The gist of the reason lies in the antithetical reference of ἐν τῇ ἰδίᾳ πατρίδι. If, as Jesus Himself testified, a prophet had no honour in his own country, he must seek it abroad. And this Jesus had done. Abroad, in Jerusalem, He had by His mighty works inspired the Galilaeans who were there with that respect which they were accustomed to deny to a prophet at home. Thus He brought the prophet’s honour with Him from abroad. Accordingly (John 4:45) He found a reception among the Galilaeans also, because they had seen His miracles in Jerusalem (John 2:23).
1 Matt. 13:57 // Mark 6:3
2 Matt. 13:58 // Mark 6:5
3 John 2:23
4 Meyer, p. 149, John 2:23
5 i.e., Wunder (“miracle”)
6 The time period when Jesus was in Jerusalem during Passover (cf. John 2:23).
7 John 4:3, 4:43
8 Meyer, p. 165, John 4:43–44
Meyer, Heinrich August Wilhelm. Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Gospel of John. Trans. Urwick, William. Ed. Crombie, Frederick. New York: Funk, 1884.
Meyer, Heinrich August Wilhelm. Kritisch exegetischer Kommentar über das Neue Testament, Zweite Abtheilung, Kritisch exegetisches Handbuch über das Evangelium des Johannes. 5th ed. Vol. 2. Göttingen: Vandenboeck and Ruprecht, 1869.