The Ministry of Jesus Begins
He went first to Nazareth, then left there and moved to Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah:
In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali, beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River, in Galilee where so many Gentiles live, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.
From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
The First Disciples
One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.
A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.
Crowds Follow Jesus
Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all. Large crowds followed him wherever he went—people from Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from east of the Jordan River.
Matthew 4:13-25 NLT
With the passing of John and the remembrance of his legacy…., ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!” (Matthew 3:3b) and “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 3:2)
The ministry of Jesus begins and His words start where John’s legacy ends: “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17)
Every time we share the gospel (the Good News about Jesus) with our words, our lives, and our actions, we become one of His disciples and clear the way for Jesus.
Our actions, or the way we live our lives, can sometimes speak louder than our words:
“Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.” 1 Peter 3:1b-2 NLT
I learned early on as a believer that WE can’t give everlasting life to sinners; all we can do is share what we know. Jesus does the rest because He IS the Savior and He gives salvation. (Phew! That’s a huge relief, isn’t it?)
However, Jesus promises us when we follow Him, He will teach us how to share the Good News, just as He taught his first disciples, so He can catch them:
“Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” Matthew 4:19 NLT
When Jesus calls us and we agree to follow Him, we receive several gifts:
- Forgiveness for our sins and eternal life.
- The Holy Spirit comes and lives in us to guide us.
- As we read the Bible, we learn how to be more like Jesus.
- God buries His word (the Bible) in our hearts to help us grow and “fish.”
- God communicates to us personally as we read the Bible.
My decision to follow Jesus was the most important choice I have ever made because “he healed every kind of disease and illness” that was broken in my life and heart. I once was a woman who lived a life of fear, anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness. It was a lonely and hard existence.
Jesus taught me I had nothing to fear because He was trustworthy and always with me. Because Jesus forgave me of my sins, it taught me how to forgive those who hurt me. Therefore, the sickness that anger and bitterness had created in my soul was removed and I was healed. I praise God!
(Please know that forgiveness and association are two different things. You forgive as an act of obedience and to help yourself heal. But, if someone is hurting you that does not mean you have to continue to associate with them.)
May we honor the Lord by learning more about Him, that we may communicate with Him and reflect Him. When we do that our reward is freedom from our burdens and we accomplish our own calling! This pleases God and as a bonus we leave a worthy legacy for those who come behind us!
Note: if you would like an excellent resource to study God’s Word, Debbie Stuart & Lisa Rose wrote: “20 Minutes A Day For The Rest of Your Life” and it can be purchased on eBay.com for $6.00 + shipping.
Disclaimer: I do not receive royalties from recommending any books to you in this blog. I recommend because they have been an important part of my growth, and I hope they benefit you as well.
Closing Prayer: Father God, we are so excited to get started on this journey with Jesus as He begins his ministry for you, Lord. Please open our hearts and let us hear a personal Word from you as you guide us on this journey. We love you Lord, and thank You for the encouragement we received today to become disciples for You. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.