The Rest of the Story –

Jesus’ Ministry Begins

Isaiah 40:1-11
John 1:15-34
John 1:35-51
John 3:22-30
Mark 1:14-20; Luke 7:18-30

More of The Rest of the Story

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Isaiah 40:1-11 (2/25/13)

All four Gospels begin the story of Jesus’ ministry with the preaching of John the Baptist. John was a major figure in Judea for a year or so before Jesus’ baptism. Thousands of people, including religious leaders from Jerusalem, came out to John – to hear him preach, to be baptized, to see the show. He had disciples, several of whom later became disciples of Jesus. Some people thought John might be the Messiah; others thought he was a prophet. Like many stories of the New Testament, John’s story begins in the Old Testament, in the prophecy of Isaiah.

John 1:15-34 (2/26/13)

John certainly didn’t see himself as the Messiah – he said that right away – or as the Prophet foretold by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15. He also denied that he was Elijah, although Jesus said later that Elijah had already come, meaning John. John Wesley explains that John meant that he was not the historical prophet Elijah the Tishbite, while Jesus was identifying him as the one foretold by the prophet Malachi. The angel who spoke to John’s father before John was born was referring to Malachi 4:5-6 when he said, “he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children.”

Malachi, the angel, and Jesus all agreed with John that he was God’s messenger, sent beforehand to prepare the world for the coming of the Messiah.

John 1:35-51 (2/27/13)

The disciple John never mentions his own name or that of his brother James in his gospel. He also doesn’t mention Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, or a couple of others, instead preferring to speak of “the twelve.” Nevertheless, many scholars think that John was the unnamed one of the two disciples of John the Baptist who followed Jesus after the Baptist identified Jesus as the Lamb of God. John the Baptist prepared the people of Judea in general for the coming of the Messiah, but he especially prepared some of his own disciples to become disciples of Jesus later on.

John 3:22-30 (2/28/13)

I think that we disciples don’t pay quite enough attention to what our teachers are telling us. James and John told someone who was casting out devils in Jesus’ name to stop, because he wasn’t a disciple (Luke 9:49). Joshua was jealously indignant about a couple of men who prophesied without being in Moses’ presence (Numbers 11:28). In today’s passage we see that some of John the Baptist’s disciples are jealous because people were leaving John to go to Jesus! In all three cases, the teachers told the disciples to settle down and praise God for his work. This week, let’s all find an occasion to praise God for working through churches other than our own!

Mark 1:14-20; Luke 7:18-30 (3/1/13)

John’s preaching led many people to admire him and to come to him for baptism. Unfortunately, his preaching led some people to hate him. If you want the entire grim story, read Mark 6:14-31 and Matthew 14:1-13. The events in today’s reading take place after John was imprisoned and before he was beheaded. John, who was probably a little depressed there in prison, sent disciples to Jesus to ask whether Jesus was really the Messiah. Jesus didn’t answer the question directly, but after John’s disciples had watched for a while, Jesus told them to report back to John with what they had seen. Jesus quoted from Isaiah 35, knowing that when John’ disciples reported the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, it would supply greater proof than anything Jesus could say.

More of The Rest of the Story
Week 1. Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 1. More on the Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Abraham … But Not Lot
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Isaac…But not Ishmael or the sons of Keturah
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Jacob…But not Esau
Week 3. Joseph Preserves Two Nations
Week 4. Deliverance
Week 4. More on Deliverance
Week 5. New Commands and a New Covenant
Week 6. Wandering
Week 6. More on the Wandering
Week 7. The Battle Begins
Week 8. A Few Good Men...and Women
Week 9. The Faith of a Foreign Woman
Week 10. Standing Tall, Falling Hard
Week 11. From Shepherd to King
Week 12. The Trials of a King
Week 13. The King Who Had It All
Week 14. A Kingdom Torn in Two
Weeks 15 and 16. God's Messengers and The Beginning of the End
Week 17. The Kingdoms' Fall
Jeremiah, Prophet of the Exile
Story 19. The Return Home
Apocalyptic writings in the Old Testament
Story 21. Rebuilding the Walls
Story 22. The Birth of the King
Story 23. Jesus’ Ministry Begins
Story 24. No Ordinary Man
Story 25. Jesus, the Son of God
Story 26. The Hour of Darkness
Story 27. The Resurrection
Story 28. New Beginnings
James, Brother of the Lord
John and Jude
Story 31. The End of Time

Copyright 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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