Week 8: The Beginning Ministry of Jesus

In the next five readings we’ll be examining a transitional period in Jesus’ life where He goes from being an unknown carpenter from Nazareth to a popular preacher and healer who attracted big crowds.  There is vivid detail captured in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ early ministry.

One key theme that emerges from these early days of Jesus’ ministry is His commitment to finding followers. Throughout the Gospel accounts we see Him giving the simple challenge, ‘Follow me.’

follow-me

39 thoughts on “Week 8: The Beginning Ministry of Jesus”

    1. People today talk about eating organically, but John the Baptist was doing it two thousand years earlier. His diet of locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3 v4) make some people think he might have been part of the desert Qumran community. These were people who lived in caves above the Dead Sea, and it was in these caves that the Dead Sea Scrolls – a selection of some of the earliest manuscripts of the Bible and other writings – were discovered in 1947.

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      1. Repent!
        John told people they were sinners, and he told them what to do about it (v8). You wouldn’t think that would be such a popular theme. But, to people weighed down by sin, a call to repentance is a blessing. If you’ve ever been forgiven for something you’ve done wrong, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Unconfessed sin has a way of eating us up from the inside out. But when we repent and finally get free of all our guilt, we experience a sense of relief and joy. Perhaps those who think that repentance is negative haven’t tried it yet. Essential Jesus Day 36.

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      2. The Kingdom of God is coming!
        John the Baptist was the first person to announce publicly the fact that his younger cousin Jesus was actually the Messiah (Luke 1 v36) and was bringing in a new era of relationship with God. That took humility (Matthew 3 v11) but that was John’s calling (v3). Essential Jesus Day 36.

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    2. v11: “I baptize you with water to show that your hearts and lives have changed. But there is one coming after me who is greater than I am, whose sandals I am not good enough to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

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    1. From Essential Jesus Day 37, We sometimes think temptation comes when we do the wrong thing or allow ourselves to get into bad situations. That’s often true enough.
      But temptation can also come when we are trying to do the right thing; Jesus was in the middle of a 40 day-spiritual retreat.
      We’ll learn how Jesus dealt with temptation, something that is incredibly helpful to know today.

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      1. From Essential Jesus Day 37, Jesus didn’t fall for any of the devil’s tactics. In each case He used His knowledge of the Scriptures to repel the attack. And if Jesus needed God’s Word to resist evil, we need it even more.
        Our struggle with temptation won’t end until (v13) until God deals with the devil once and for all (Revelation 20:10).

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    2. From Essential Jesus Day 37, The devil quotes Psalm 91. Perhaps spiritual temptations are the most subtle and dangerous. The devil doesn’t need to stop us doing God’s work as long as he can get us to be ungodly as we do it: That still advances his evil agenda.

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    3. From Essential Jesus, Do you believe in the devil? I do. I’ve never had an encounter with him, nor do I want to. But I’ve seen the effect of the devil’s work in the lives of broken and destroyed people.

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      1. From Essential Jesus Day 38:
        By saying this had been fulfilled (v21), Jesus was clearly claiming He was the promised Messiah.
        You can imagine the stunned silence that followed:
        ‘Ah, right… Are there any other announcements today?’

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      2. From Essential Jesus Day 38:
        Ever since, people have been divided about Jesus. Some accept Him (v22) while others are infuriated by Him (v28).
        And yet, Jesus made many more jaw-dropping statements about what He came to do (for example, John 5:24-27).
        A person who said what Jesus said and did what Jesus did demands a response.

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    1. If you don’t like being noticed when you visit a different Church, you wouldn’t have visited many synagogues in Jesus’ day. It was customary for the synagogue leader to invite visitors to address the congregation. Jesus took advantage of the opportunity to preach in verses 14-19.

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    1. From Essential Jesus Day 39:
      It’s significant that the demon-possessed heckler met Jesus in the synagogue, not in a back alley. Today we assume sometimes that churches are for ‘good’ people. But if the Church is doing its job, those who are disturbed or have serious problems will also be attracted to the fellowship. Instead of rejecting or avoiding them, we need to introduce them to Jesus; He’s the one with the authority to change their lives (v35).

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    2. From Essential Jesus Day 39:
      Our passage gives us another clue about the source of Jesus’ authority: ‘At daybreak, Jesus went to a lonely place’ (v42). In the hustle and bustle of His growing popularity, Jesus made time to be alone with God in prayer. Even though He was the Son of God, He made it a priority to talk to God in prayer. And that’s a source of strength that is still available to us today.

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    1. From Essential Jesus Day 40: Jesus often baffled people by doing the opposite of what they thought would gain popularity (John 6:60, 66). But Jesus’ goal was not popularity; it was to attract followers (Matthew 9:9; Mark 1:17; Luke 18:22; John 21:19).

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    2. From Essential Jesus Day 40:
      Jesus recruited followers by speaking to [people individually in a language they understood. He recruited followers one at a time. Look at Peter’s experience (vv 4-11). Jesus took the trouble to communicate in a ‘language’ Peter could understand: the fishing business. We make a mistake if we think that God only works in a Church or other religious setting. God is at work everywhere in our world. Life takes on new meaning.when we look for Him in the details of our day.

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      1. From Essential Jesus:
        Jesus challenged His followers to ‘Come, follow me… and I will send you out to fish for people’ (Matthew 4:19).
        What do you think He meant? How can someone ‘fish for people’ today?

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    3. From Essential Jesus Day 40:
      Jesus’ presence convicted people of their need for God. The bulging nets convinced Peter he was in the presence of a higher power (v8). Interestingly, his first thought wasn’t to snap a photo for the wall of his shed: Peter and Jesus, arm in arm, in front of the incredible mound of fish. Instead, he thought of his sin. That’s what a real encounter with God does. It reveals the distance between God’s holiness and our corruption. Even so, we have nothing to fear (v10). Jesus came to restore the relationship between sinful humans and a holy God. That’s the reason to follow Him.

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