The Ministry of Jesus -- an Overview

Jesus is the Greatest Itinerant Preacher That Ever Lived

At the time of Jesus’ baptism, and the beginning of His ministry, He was about 30 years old according to Luke 3:23. Most Biblical scholars agree that Jesus was born in late summer or early fall, in September, which corresponds to the Jewish month of Tishri. His crucifixion was in Nisan, corresponding to April, and in Luke 13:7, Jesus reveals, “…for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none.”

Therefore, Jesus’ ministry was about three and a half years long. In that remarkably short time, Jesus the Christ accomplished what no other man could accomplish. “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25)

Jesus Christ “came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:11) Jesus came as the Messiah to Israel, the King of the Kingdom of Heaven, but Israel rejected Him. In the few years that He ministered, He showed forth God as the Father. He preached life-changing sermons, and taught intriguing parables that continue to challenge today’s most intellectual minds. He healed hundreds of incurable diseases, fed thousands miraculously, calmed storms instantly, walked on water unflinchingly, raised people from the dead, and handpicked and trained just a dozen men, eleven of whom would go on to change the world forever by spreading the Good News of Christ.

Jesus Christ often spoke the most profound truths to only one person, such as Nicodemus in John 3, and the unnamed Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Rejected by the people of His own hometown, and even His own family members, Jesus preached in cities around the Sea of Galilee, such as Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida. He selected working-class people such as fishermen to be His disciples, and befriended and ate with common people. He confronted and reproved religious leaders, who envied and hated Him. He taught in the temple in Jerusalem, synagogues in the cities of Judea, out in the countryside, in fields, on hills, and from boats in the water while crowds listened intently from the shore.

Jesus taught about a kingdom, but not a kingdom of this world. He compared it to a treasure hidden in a field of such tremendous value that it would be worth selling everything just to buy that one field. Jesus taught about Himself metaphorically, saying, “I am the bread of life, I am the light of the world, I am the door of the sheep, I am the good shepherd, I am the resurrection, I am the way, the truth, and the life, and I am the true vine.” He said. “No man can come to the Father but by me,” and “without me you can do nothing.”

Years later, the Apostle Paul would write about this One Who so radically altered his own life. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

Professor of Classics at Auckland University, E. M. Blaiklock said: “The evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history.”

The early Christians courageously declared the risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. They didn’t do it for wealth or social status. They were beaten, stoned, burned, fed to lions, even crucified, and willing to die rather than deny the reality of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Dr. James Allan Francis wrote a prose piece entitled “One Solitary Life.” It can be found in his book called “The Real Jesus and Other Sermons.” Following is an excerpt.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college... He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of the things that contemporary society would consider a sign of greatness… He had nothing of this world, only the power of His divine manhood. While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him, another betrayed Him. He was turned over to His enemies…. Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today He is the centerpiece of the human race, the greatest source of guidance and divine inspiration... that one solitary life!—Jesus!

Written by: Pete Miller