Welcome to Bible Study! This week we continue our study of Jesus the Christ with a look at the beginning of his ministry. The ministry of Jesus had many facets including healing, teaching, preaching and saving. This week we look at his preparation for the start of his ministry and the healing that came at the beginning of his ministry. So come now and let us “meet Jesus again, for the first time!”
Matthew 3:1-2
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

  1. Who was John the Baptist? Was he a relative of Jesus?
  2. Mark 1:4-5
    4 And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

  3. What did John mean by the word repent? What made John’s form of baptism so different from the kind of baptism the Jews practiced at that time?
  4. Matthew 3:13-15
    13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

  5. Since Jesus could not sin and therefore had no need to repent, why was it so important for Jesus to be baptized by John? What did Jesus mean when he said John must baptize him “to fulfill all righteousness?”
  6. Luke 3:22
    22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

  7. What was the meaning of the Holy Spirit descending like a dove on Jesus? What do you think God meant when He said “with you I am well pleased?”
  8. Matthew 4:1-2
    Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

  9. Why do you think it was necessary for the Spirit to lead Jesus into the desert to be tempted by Satan? What were some of the temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness? What lessons can young people learn today from how Jesus handled the temptations while he was alone with the devil in the desert?
  10. Mark 1:14-15
    14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

  11. What do you think Jesus means by his double command in Verse 15, “Repent and believe the good news?”
  12. Mark 1:23-24
    23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evile spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are — the Holy One of God!”

  13. What do you think the evil spirit meant by his questions to Jesus in Verse 24? What did the evil spirit know that the crowd didn’t know?
  14. Mark 1:25-27
    25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. 27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching — and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.”

  15. Why do you think the people were so amazed when Jesus defeated the evil spirit that possessed the man in these verses?
  16. Mark 1:29-31
    29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

  17. Who was Simon in this text? What were the double healings Jesus gave Simon’s mother-in-law?
  18. Mark 1:34
    34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

  19. Why do you think Verse 34 makes a distinction between Jesus healing diseases and removing demon possession? Why wouldn’t Jesus let the demons speak?
  20. Who was Judas Maccabaeus and how did his work help shape the Jews expectations of what kind of king the Messiah would be?



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?