HOW JESUS BEGAN HIS MINISTRY

 

From the age of 12 to the age of 30, the Word of God is silent about the life of Jesus. All we know is that He would have been an exception son to Mary and Joseph as he grew up into manhood. Since Joseph was carpenter, we can assume that Jesus spent much of his time helping his father in this trade as lived in Nazareth.

 

The Scriptures teach us that around the age of 30 Jesus began His public ministry by going to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. Let us read about this great event from:

 

Matthew 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?"15 But Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed Him.16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

 

This great example of obedience because Jesus had no sin, but He wanted to fulfill all righteousness by submitting to the Fatherís will. His obedience serves as example to all that would follow after Him. Our goal should always be to do the Fatherís will.

 

As we read, Jesus obedient act was well received the Father spoke out from heaven and gave His divine approval of what His Son did for all to hear. His baptism marked the beginning of His public ministry.

 

Jesus did many things in His short ministry. Here is a brief outline of some of the major things He did in the beginning of His ministry:

 

  • His baptism
  • His temptation in the desert
  • He selects His first disciples
  • He turns water into wine
  • He cleanses out the Temple
  • He talks with Nicodemus about being born again
  • He has great success in Samaria after talking to a women at Jacobís well
  • He takes His healing and teaching ministry back into the Galilee area

 

Again, these are some of the major events in the first months of Jesus public ministry. Since we do no have time to look at each of these in detail, I just want to take a look at some these events so we can see how much Jesus was interested in the lives of all kinds of people with different backgrounds.

 

Our first example comes from those He chose to be his apostles:

 

Matthew 4:18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.19 Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them,22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

 

Matthew 9:9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." So he arose and followed Him.

 

Jesus did not show partiality. He did not care what these men backgrounds were or what their social status was. He was simply looking for those who were willing to hear His teaching and follow after Him.

 

This is still true today. No matter who you are or what you have done in the past, Jesus wants you to know that there is room for in His kingdom if you are willing to listen to His Word and follow after Him. The Pharisees had different attitude about those they considered worthy because notice what they said about the people Jesus was reaching out to and Jesus response:

 

Matthew 9:10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.13 "But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

 

Unfortunately, some Christians have the same attitude as these Pharisees, but thankfully Jesus does show partiality and He is interested in everyone that is willing to listen. So, while man may show partiality at time, Jesus never will and we should be thankful for that and emulate His example because every person has beautiful soul that is worth saving from the pits of hell.

 

Our second example that shows Jesus interest in our lives was His presence at the marriage feast in Cana in John 2.

 

John 2:1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine."4 Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come."5 His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece.7 Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." And they filled them up to the brim.8 And He said to them, "Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast." And they took it.9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom.10 And he said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!"11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

 

While this event marks the first miracle that Jesus did, it also shows how Jesus participated in such social events. Though Jesus never married, He knew that most people did and He approved of the blessed of union of man and wife. While their marriage is much more than this social event, Jesus showed His concern, by turning the water into wine so that the newly married couple would not be embarrassed.

 

While Jesus would never get to experience marriage, He understood that a marriage that is built on the foundation of Godís Word is relationship that can provide great joy and source of comfort and strength. When two people become one, they will help each other through the struggles of life and help each other remain faithful to God.

 

Of course another great benefit of marriage is children. Jesus knew that two people joined that love God would also raise their children in the way of God, so that the cycle will continue throughout the generations. So, Jesus honors and respects marriage between a man and woman without partiality.

 

Our third example comes from Jesusí encounter with the Samaritan women at the well. Only John records this event for us:

 

John 4:5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.7 ∂ A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink."8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."11 The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?12 "Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?"13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,14 "but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."15 The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."16 ∂ Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here."17 The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,'18 "for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly."19 The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.20 "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship."21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.22 "You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.23 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."25 The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things."26 Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, "What do You seek?" or, "Why are You talking with her?"28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men,29 "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"

 

There are many great lessons that can be taught with Jesusí encounter with this woman, but the main point I want to make is that Jesus broke the social rules of the day to teach this woman and the people that were like here a spiritual lesson. As I have pointed out several times in the past, the Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans. Many of them would not even walk through their city, they would walk around because of the rabbis of that day said it would make them unclean. It was also a social no no for a Jewish man to talk to a women in public.

 

Jesus was not worried about social customs and he was not concerned with prejudice of the day. He saw this woman as opportunity to teach a valuable lesson about the future of how we will worship God and how the He is the Messiah.

 

In this example, Jesus shows us that we should take advantage of the opportunities that we have to teach others about God. It does not matter what their race is or what the social custom is every person deserves to hear about God and to be invited to learn more about Him. Let us do our best to set aside our preconceived ideas and prejudices about others and show the same love and concern for them as Jesus did for the Samaritan women.

 

If you read the rest of John 4, you will see that many others came and believed in Jesus because of His willingness to love all no matter who they are. The same could happen for us because we never know the potential of a person and what they accomplish for the Lord. So, let us do our best to follow Jesus example.

 

Our final example comes from when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus

 

John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

 

Jesus did not care what time of day someone came to Him or who it was. He was always ready to teach them what they needed to know. Now I could give Nicodemus the benefit of the doubt and say that he came by night because that was only time he could come to Jesus, but most likely he came at night so that he would not be seen by his fellow Jews. Though this man was part of the leadership that was trying to destroy Jesus, Jesus taught him anyway because He loves us all and wants all of us to understand what He has to offer us.

 

In our text, he was letting Nicodemus know that the Jews were not going to be automatically transferred into the kingdom of God because they like everyone one else would have to go through a spiritual rebirth, which happens at the point of ones water baptism.

 

This was unheard of by the Jews because they thought since they were Abrahamís seed, that nothing else would be required of them. As Jesus said, to enter the kingdom of God one must born of water and the Spirit.

 

Once again, Jesus example shows that even the enemies of the cross deserve hear the Good News about Jesus and what He brings to us at all. While it is easy to hate your enemies and hope that they will burn up in hell, we should not have that attitude. Instead as Jesus said:

 

Matthew 5:44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,45 "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?47 "And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?

 

From the beginning of Jesusí ministry until the end of His ministry, He took advantage of every situation no matter where He was, who He was talking to, or what time of day it was, He treated everyone the same without partiality and we should do the same. In fact, part of Jesusí instruction to His disciples was to proclaim the Gospel to everyone:

 

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

 

Just shortly before Jesus ascended into heaven, He told His disciples:

 

Acts 1:8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

 

Starting from the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit was poured out and His disciples began to proclaim this life saving message of Jesus to all that would hear. It started in Jerusalem as stated by Jesus and prophesied (Isa. 2). From there, the message continued to be spread even to the Gentiles because under the new covenant established by Jesus, every person willing to hear His message and obey it can become a child of God.


Sometimes Jesusí disciples failed to treat others without partiality, but in the end, Godís Word was proclaimed to all, and salvation is available to everyone. Since Jesus is so interested in all of us and wants all of us to be saved, it should cause us to gain deeper appreciation for the love that Jesus has for us all. We should be encouraged to follow His example especial when we know that is what God wants us to do:

 

1 Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

 

I hope that everyone of us will take the examples of Jesusí early ministry emulate them so that we can give all the opportunity to know God and obey His will.

 

Adapted from Ted Cline