Today in our reading Jesus begins His ministry. Jesus didn’t step out and begin His public ministry until after John was arrested. John’s arrest came on the heels of Jesus’ testing in the wilderness. Jesus’ message fulfilled the preaching of John’s.
I wanted to look at John the Baptist’s ministry to get a little background. In my Google search I found a website which answered my questions through scripture; Keway.ca. My main question was, “How long was John’s ministry?” The answer I found was that John’s ministry was very short, lasting less than a year before he was put in prison by Herod. John would be in prison for nearly two years before he was finally killed. I feel for John, training for his mission probably all his life, simply to have it be so short lived. Kind of like the actor who practices his craft for years and ends his career after one 15 second walk on appearance. But unlike the actor, John’s mission and presence was crucial to God’s plan. He had a message that HAD to be told; “Repent! The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” John also had a crucial task he had to perform. He had to be the one to baptize Jesus. Once these two tasks were accomplished, it was important for him to fade into the background as Jesus now took center stage.
Jesus came fulfilling John’s message and preaching His own message; part 2 of John’s, “Repent! The Kingdom of Heaven is now!” Jesus waited until part 1 was finished before proclaiming part 2. Jesus’ first mission field would be the region of Galilee. This region encompassed His home town of Nazareth and His new home base of Capernaum. Jesus would visit many cities in this region several times with the gospel. He would also visit other regions, including several Gentile cities throughout His ministry, but none more than the people along the Sea of Galilee.
Father God, first of all, thank You for caring for John the Baptist while he was in prison. Hared didn’t let the guards treat him badly because he was afraid of John. Hared knew John was speaking for You, even though he resisted John’s message. Second, I wish I could have a peek into the real life in Galilee while Jesus was there. To have been on the streets where He was ministering daily. To hear His Earthly voice as He spoke to the people. To have been someone He actually reached out His physical hand and touched. Would I have believed His message? Would I have been one of His followers? Or would I have been like so many in that region who simply took Him for granted or outright refused to listen?
I’m so grateful that You allow me to walk the streets with Jesus through Your word and in my imagination. I really want to sit down with Jesus and hear ALL His stories when I get to Heaven. My “show me” mentality would probably have got in the way of believing, before Your promise was fulfilled. I am glad You placed me in a time when believing is much easier for me. Seeing the evidence laid out before me and having Your word right in my hands removes any room for doubt as to Who Jesus was, is, and always will be. I wonder what the “new believer” during Your millennial reign will think of today’s believers. Will they be as impressed by our ability to believe as I am by Jesus’ disciples? They had God’s promises through the prophets and the miracles from Israel’s past to hold onto.
Thank You for giving EACH generation evidence of Your existence and love for us. Even Noah had the stories of Adam to hold onto. Did he hear these stories from Methuselah? The man whose father walked right on into Heaven? What a legacy that would have been! I’m sure Enoch impressed upon Methuselah the joys of a relationship with You. Did Methuselah turn his back on You like the rest of the world? I’m so sorry You had to endure the whole world falling away. Only because of Your promise did You even save one family. You could have wiped everyone out and started over with no one the wiser, but You kept Your word instead. THAT is integrity! That alone proves that I can trust EVERY word You say. Thank You for showing me this. Something that EVERY generation can point to as foundational for their belief and trust in You.