Read Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3-4, John 1, and this article to prepare for this week
Beginnings of Jesus’ ministry – Jesus began His public ministry when He sought baptism at the hands of John the Baptist. John preached between A.D. 27 and 28 in the lower Jordan Valley and baptized those who wished to give expression to their repentance (Matt 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34). The descent of the dove as Jesus came up out of the water was a sign that He was the One anointed by the Spirit of God as the Servant-Messiah of His people (Isa 11:2; 42:1; 61:1).
A voice from heaven declared, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). This indicated that He was Israel’s anointed King, destined to fulfill His kingship as the Servant of the Lord described centuries earlier by the prophet Isaiah (Isa 42:1; 52:13).
In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus’ baptism is followed immediately by His temptation in the wilderness (Matt 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13). This testing confirmed His understanding of the heavenly voice and His acceptance of the path which it marked out for Him. He refused to use His power as God’s Son to fulfill His personal desires, to amaze the people, or to dominate the world by political and military force.
Apparently, Jesus ministered for a short time in southern and central Palestine, while John the Baptist was still preaching (John 3:22-4:42). But the main phase of Jesus’ ministry began in Galilee after John’s imprisonment by Herod Antipas. This was the signal, according to Mark 1:14-15, for Jesus to proclaim God’s Good News in Galilee: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” What is the character of this kingdom? How was it to be established?
A popular view was that the kingdom of God meant throwing off the oppressive yoke of Rome and establishing an independent state of Israel. JUDAS MACCABAEUS and his brothers and followers had won independence for the Jewish people in the second century B.C. by guerrilla warfare and diplomatic skill. Many of the Jewish people believed that with God’s help, the same thing could happen again. Other efforts had failed, but the spirit of revolt remained. If Jesus had consented to become the military leader, which the people wanted, many would gladly have followed Him. But in spite of His temptation, Jesus resisted taking this path.
Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom of God was accompanied by works of mercy and power, including the healing of the sick, particularly those who were demon-possessed. These works also proclaimed the arrival of the kingdom of God. The demons that caused such distress to men and women were signs of the kingdom of Satan. When they were cast out, this proved the superior strength of the kingdom of God.
For a time, Jesus’ healing aroused great popular enthusiasm throughout Galilee. But the religious leaders and teachers found much of Jesus’ activity disturbing. He refused to be bound by their religious ideas. He befriended social outcasts. He insisted on understanding and applying the law of God in the light of its original intention, not according to the popular interpretation of the religious establishment. He insisted on healing sick people on the Sabbath day. He believed that healing people did not profane the Sabbath but honored it, because it was established by God for the rest and relief of human beings (Luke 6:6-11).
This attitude brought Jesus into conflict with the scribes, the official teachers of the law. Because of their influence, He was soon barred from preaching in the synagogues. But this was no great inconvenience. He simply gathered larger congregations to listen to Him on the hillside or by the lakeshore. He regularly illustrated the main themes of His preaching by parables. These were simple stories from daily life which would drive home some special point and make it stick in the hearer’s understanding.
(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)_
Who was Judas Maccabaeus?




Welcome to this week’s Bible Study!. This week we are studying the Baby Jesus and his birth and how his birth changed the world then and now. We also look at the conflict between an earthly kingdom and the Kingdom of God that came with the birth of the Baby Jesus. Please read this week’s handout and Matthew Chapters 1 and 2 for help in answering the questions below. Let us now “meet Jesus again, for the first time!”
Matthew 1:1
A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
In the above Scripture, Jesus was called the “son of David.” What does the term Son of David mean and how did it prove that Jesus was the Messiah?
Matthew 1:20
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
In the above verse, Joseph is called “son of David” which is the same title given to Jesus in Verse 1. Why do you think Joseph was called the son of David?
Matthew 1:1-25 is said to show the human and divine heritage of Jesus. If Matthew 1:1-17 shows the human heritage of Jesus, how does Matthew 1:18-25 show the divine heritage of Jesus the Christ?
Matthew 2:1
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magia from the east came to Jerusalem
What does the word Magi mean? How many were there? The handout says three wise men and nativity plays show three but what does Scripture say?
Was Jesus still a baby when the Magi or wise men came to see him? How old do you think he was when the wise men brought their gifts to him?
The handout says Jesus was 40 days old when he was taken to the Temple for the first time. If you were the CSI (Christ Scene Investigator) of those days what evidence in the Bible would you use to prove Jesus was 40 days old then?
Matthew 2:13
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,
The above Scripture shows the obedience of Joseph and God’s plan to protect His only begotten Son. Using your CSI hat again, how would you prove how old Jesus was when his parents took him to Egypt to escape the murderous wrath of King Herod? Where do you find your proof?
Matthew 2:1-3
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magia from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the eastb and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
In the handout I write about the “Clash of the Titans!” and how there was “Only Room for One King at a Time!” In the above Scripture the Magi called Jesus the “King of Jews” and this upset King Herod. This was the first notice in the New Testament that Jesus represented the coming of the Kingdom of God. Why do you think King Herod was upset about the birth of Jesus and why did he think it was a threat to his kingdom?
Matthew 2:19-3:2
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” 21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”
Matthew 3:1-2
3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
The above Scriptures support what is written in the handout about Jesus’ birth signaling the coming of the Kingdom of God. But in Matthew 3:2 some 28 years later John the Baptist declares coming of Jesus meant “the kingdom of heaven is near.” Yet in Mark 1:15 when Jesus was also speaking about his coming he declares that “The kingdom of God is near.” What do you think kingdom of heaven means and is it different from kingdom of God?
Rites of Passage. The handout teaches about some of the Rites of Passage that Jewish boys during Jesus’ time went through. What were some of the rites Jesus probably passed through as boy until age 13? The handout makes it clear that Jesus probably went to school. If the Son of God went to school, what does that say about the importance of going to school for today’s youth?
The handout says that when a Jewish boy reached a certain age he received his phylacteries. What was a phylactery? Why were they so important?