The Beginning of Jesus' Ministry
Jesus was now ready to begin His mission. All His life He had lived for God, and had obeyed His earthly parents and His heavenly Father. The Bible tells us nothing of Jesus’ activities between the 12th and 30th years of His life, except that He was sinless and worked as a carpenter. It is amazing to think that for the greatest part of His life, our Lord lived an ordinary life, living quietly and working with His hands. Until His ministry began, Jesus performed no miracles; in fact, He did very little to cause any of His neighbors to suspect that He was the Son of God (Matthew 13:54-56). This all changed when He left that carpenter’s shop in Nazareth and began traveling around Galilee, preaching to the poor, healing the sick, and restoring sight to the blind.
People were excited when Jesus began His ministry. Palestine, the homeland of Jesus and the Jews, was occupied by Roman forces. The common people were poor, and relied on their faith in God to get through life. The arrival of John the Baptizer, and now Jesus’ appearance, signaled the first recorded direct communication from God to Israel in 400 years. Both men preached repentance, announcing, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). The people had waited for a long time for deliverance from their Roman oppressors. They knew that such could only come from the Almighty, and when Jesus came prophesying and working miracles, they believed He was the Deliverer. To the people, Jesus represented hope.
At first, the Lord visited local synagogues, reading the Scriptures with an authority that the Jewish worshipers respected. Luke tells us He was “glorified by all” (4:15). In these early days, He explained His mission; His message of salvation contained the hope that the people so desperately needed. He came to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10) and to “set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).
Later, as His ministry progressed, the masses realized that the salvation Jesus offered was not from the Romans or any other physical kingdom, but a spiritual salvation from sin. Some people never understood Jesus’ message, and, as a result, eventually He was put to death on the cross. Others accepted Him as the Messiah, the Son of God, and followed Him gladly.