The Story: Jesus’ Ministry Begins

H-Icon_Ch23_DoveJesus traveled throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues. He announced the good news of the kingdom and healed every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread throughout Syria. People brought to him all those who had various kinds of diseases, those in pain, those possessed by demons, those with epilepsy, and those who were paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from the areas beyond the Jordan River.” – Matthew 4:23-25

This Week’s Scripture References: Matthew 3-4, 11; Mark 1-3; Luke 8; John 1-4

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” –Luke 2:52

Jesus, God’s Son, enters the world as a baby. Like all babies, Jesus grew up. The Bible doesn’t give us much of a description of what Jesus was like growing up, but the passage from Luke 2:52 says a lot about who Jesus is and what he would grow up to be.

What do you know about Jesus?

Imagine being present at Jesus’ baptism. Imagine being among the crowd of people who had come to be baptized by John, people searching and seeking hope and forgiveness. Imagine being witness to the conversation between John and Jesus. Imagine Jesus stepping into the water, the heavens opening, the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting on Jesus and a voice from heaven saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

What does God speaking as a loving parent teach us about Jesus?

What does Jesus baptism reveal to us about his ministry?

In Jesus all things change. The Gospel is the story of Jesus, the agent of grace-filled changed! Jesus mission is to be this agent of grace-filled change for Israel, for all people, for all creation. Not simply because of who he was, but because of what he does…

“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.  So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them.” Matthew 4:23-24

Jesus’ actions change everything! God in Jesus brings restoration and health to a twisted and broken world. And he invites an unlikely group of people to join him in this mission. Jesus chose to be with the very people that we tend to look down on: shady business partners, thieves, prostitutes, those who are physically broken and emotionally needy, those living on the margins of society, the unwanted, the least and the lost. Jesus doesn’t hang out in the places one might expect to find God. Jesus hangs out in the most ungodly of places. Instead of writing people off, Jesus graciously invited the broken into His relational circle of hope.

So what does this mean for you?

Jesus had a heart for all of us who make mistakes. He seeks us out no matter what we have done. This should tell us something about Jesus’ mission.

Why is Jesus seeking us out?

We are the people that need restoration. We are the sinners, the people who have broken our promises to God. We are those who are burdened by our guilt and shame. We are the ones Jesus continually asks to hang out with. Jesus calls us to embrace our own brokenness. And Jesus embraces us as we acknowledge the destructive forces of our sin. But Jesus does so not by calling us sinner, but by saying to us, “You are my beloved.”

What does it mean to be Jesus’ beloved?

Jesus does not define us by our failures. Instead, Jesus peels back the layers of our brokenness and sees the image of God buried within each of us. Jesus restores us and then invites us to join him in ministry. We are called to embrace the brokenness of others.

How is Jesus inviting you to join him in mission?

Imagine yourself again being present at Jesus’ baptism. The heavens open and God says to Jesus, “You are my beloved. I choose you.” Jesus then says to us, to all, “You are my beloved. I choose you.”

How do you respond to Jesus invitation to acknowledge your brokenness and join him in mission to bring hope and healing to our broken world?

How is Jesus calling you to partner with him to be an agent of grace-filled change in the world?

This is my story. This is your story. This is our story. This is God’s story. This is the greatest story ever told. This is the good news of Christ Jesus! This is the story to be shared, to be proclaimed!

How is God calling you to share the good news of Christ Jesus?

To listen to this week’s sermon,  Jesus’ Ministry Begins, Sermon 2/6 in “Walk” The Story Mini-Series, click here! 

For Family Devotions related to this week’s message, click here!

For more information and additional resources for The Story at Faith UMC, click here!


About faithumchurch

Spiritual Formation Director at Faith United Methodist Church in North Canton, Ohio
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