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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Day 279: Jesus’ early ministry

Now to the synoptic gospels, and their way of seeing Jesus’s early days
Jesus in Samaria
John 4:27-42
Jesus preaches the gospel
Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:14-15, Luke 4:14-15, John 4:43-45
Jesus heals an official’s son
John 4:46-54
Jesus is rejected at Nazareth
Luke 4:16-30
Jesus leaves Nazareth
Matthew 4:13-16
Jesus calls four fishermen
Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20, Luke 5:5-11
Jesus teaches in the synagogue
Mark 1:21-22, Luke 4:31-32
The man with the evil spirit
Mark 1:23-28

John is different from the other three gospels - he has a different order of events, different priorities, different style. You might even ask, is he talking about the same man?
Matthew and Mark summarise Jesus’ message as “The time has come. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Luke has him quoting from Isaiah, and caring for the poor and oppressed as well as preaching the gospel. John tells of him being welcomed in Samaria - looked down on by Jews as reprobates, because they don’t worship God properly.
But they don’t necessarily receive Jesus kindly - the people of Nazareth know him too well, and familiarity breeds contempt. They hear Jesus as accusing them of not being faithful Jews - using the example of Elijah against them, and they throw him out.
This prompts Jesus to make his home in Capernaum, which is where he begins his relationship with the fishermen. Unlike most rabbis, who waited for people to follow them, Jesus goes and seeks out some followers. He chooses people who would have given up on religious education and got themselves a trade instead. Although they may have been faithful Jews, they would never have thought of themselves as religious experts, or as disciples of a rabbi. But somehow, Jesus is irresistible.

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