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Matthew, Mark and Luke
Lesson 3
Jesus Begins His Ministry in Galilee

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Reading assignment for this lesson: Matthew 4:12-25, 7:28-29, 8:14-17, Mark 1:14-39, Luke 4:14-44, 5:1-11

Jesus began His public ministry in the area of Galilee, teaching about the kingdom of God and performing miracles. But in His home town of Nazareth He found only rejection, and the people tried to kill Him. He picked fishermen from around the Sea of Galilee as His first four disciples. As Jesus taught in the synagogues and performed miracles, His reputation started to spread and crowds of people followed Him wherever He went.

1. In what way did Jesus start His ministry where John the Baptist left off when he was put in prison? (See Matthew 3:1-3, Mark 1:4.)

2. The kingdom of God (or kingdom of heaven) is the subject of many of Jesus' parables and sayings, and is called the "centerpiece" of His teachings. It is mentioned about 100 times in the New Testament. What is the kingdom of God? (See Matthew 5:17-19, 18:2-4, 21:31-32, Mark 10:23-27, 12:28-34, Luke 17:20-21, John 3:3-7, 18:36, Galatians 5:19-26, 2 Peter 1:5-10, Revelation 12:10)

3. What did Jesus mean when He said, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."? (See Psalms 51:1-12, Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:14-15, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10.)

4. The Jewish people were expecting the Messiah to be a great political and military leader who would crush Israel's enemies and restore the kingdom of Israel to glory. How did Jesus and the kingdom He preached about differ from those expectations?

5. Do you feel that you belong to the kingdom of God? Why?

6. In Luke 4:16-30 the people of Nazareth at first spoke well of Jesus. But Jesus hinted (verses 24-27) that the people lacked faith, and, like the prophets Elijah and Elisha, His work would be accomplished through Israel's enemies, the Gentiles. At this, the people were furious and wanted to kill Him.
a) How did the people's reaction follow from their beliefs about the Messiah?
b) Like the people of Nazareth, we often believe God favors (or should favor) our nation over those we consider enemies. Is that belief justified? (See Matthew 5:9, 43-48, Romans 12:17-21.)

7. a) How does the account of Jesus' call of His first four disciples in Luke 5:1-11 differ from the accounts in Matthew 4:18-22 and Mark 1:16-20?
b) What would your reaction be if Jesus came to you and told you to leave your home, family and job and be His disciple?

8. Why did Jesus pick fishermen to be His disciples instead of scholars, religious leaders or political leaders? (See Proverbs 15:33, Matthew 11:25-26, 18:4, Mark 10:45, 1 Peter 5:5.)

9. What did Jesus mean when He told His new disciples they would "fish for people" (or "be fishers of men")?

10. a) How did Jesus' public teachings differ from that of other Jewish teachers? (See Matthew 7:28-29, Mark 1:21-22, Luke 4:31-32, John 1:14, 7:40-46.)
b) Can you imagine what it was like to listen to Jesus preach in person?

11. In Biblical times it was believed that many illnesses were caused by demons or other evil spirits, but scientific explanations of illness are generally accepted today. This lesson has several examples of Jesus curing people by casting out demons or evil spirits (Mark 1:23-34, 39, Luke 4:33-41). Some people think God allowed demons to be very active at that time in history to demonstrate Jesus' authority over them. Other people think the demons were just the gospel writers' attempts to interpret Jesus' healings in terms that were familiar to them. What do you think? Why?

12. In Mark 1:34 and Luke 4:41 Jesus commanded the demons to be quiet because they knew who he was. There are many instances in the gospels where Jesus commanded those He healed and demons He cast out to be quiet and not spread the word of His miracles. This is the so-called Messianic secret. Why would Jesus want these events to be kept secret? (See Isaiah 52:13-15, John 18:36)

13. What purpose do the stories of Jesus' healings serve in the gospels?

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