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Jesus' Ministry Begins

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This morning I invite you on a journey -
A journey of the blind given sight
A journey of the lame given strength
A journey of the lost given hope
A journey of the early days of Christ’s ministry
Last week we looked at the Birth of a King, and how God was revealed through the Word.
John 1:1–3 NKJV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
John 1:14 NKJV
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
As emphasized last week, if you want to begin to know what God is like, study the person and work of Jesus Christ, because:
Colossians 1:15 NKJV
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Colossians 1:19 NKJV
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
God was revealed through the Word, being Jesus
But also, we learned that God is revealed through His own - that being us who’ve believed through faith in Christ.
God has called those who are His to proclaim Who He is!
And that centers our focus in loving God because of Who He is, learning more of Who He Is, and Living that pursuit out together.
In reference to Jesus, Henry Bosch wrote:
Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 2679 Enriching Every Sphere

2679 Enriching Every Sphere

Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50, Aristotle for 40, and Jesus for only 3. Yet the influence of Christ’s 3-year ministry infinitely transcends the impact left by the combined 130 years of teaching from these men who were among the greatest philosophers of all antiquity. Jesus painted no pictures; yet, some of the finest paintings of Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci received their inspiration from Him.

Jesus wrote no poetry; but Dante, Milton, and scores of the world’s greatest poets were inspired by Him. Jesus composed no music; still Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, Bach, and Mendelssohn reached their highest perfection of melody in the hymns, symphonies, and oratories they composed in His praise. Every sphere of human greatness has been enriched by this humble Carpenter of Nazareth.

—Henry G. Bosch

As we have walked through the Old Testament to this point on Sunday Mornings, we turned a new page last week to the New.
And here we find Christ’s earthly ministry beginning.
Join me please in two places Matthew 3 and John 4. PAGE ____
Matthew 3:1 KJV 1900
1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
Matthew 3:4–6 NKJV
4 Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
People were flocking out to see this prophet (remember it had been 400 years since the last one).
They came out to hear what he was preaching about the coming Kingdom.
Many were responding to his message ready to give full allegiance and obedience to this coming King through repentance and submersion in the Jordan.
And Jesus comes on the scene - v. 13
Matthew 3:13–17 KJV 1900
13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Here we see the descent of the Spirit and the voiced approval of the Father on the divine ministry of the Son as both King and Savior.
Christ’s baptism was the start to his three year earthly ministry.
Beginning in John 1-4 you find the first year of Jesus’ Judean ministry.
John ch. 1
Christ calling some of His disciples to follow Him
John ch 2
Christ at the Wedding in Cana of Galilee - water into wine
Christ clearing the temple of the deceitful practices going on
John ch 3
Jesus witnessing to Nicodemus - well versed in religion, but didn’t know God personally
John ch 4
Jesus witnessing to the Samaritan Woman at the well
Look with me there in John 4, but keep your finger in Matt 3, we will return to Matt 4 in just a minute.
John 4:1–30 KJV 1900
1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) 3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. 4 And he must needs go through Samaria. 5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. 27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? 28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.
John 4:39–42 KJV 1900
39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. 40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his own word; 42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
So, all of these fantastic things are going on - and continue for three years.
Christ is helping the helpless, giving hope to the hopeless, ministry is going great.
But I’d like you to look back with me to Matthew 4.
Prior to the transformations of John 1-4, and just after the audible approval of the Father in Matthew 3 we find Matthew 4:1-11
Matthew 4:1–11 NKJV
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” 5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” 7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” 8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” 11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
Again, just after the miraculous audible approval of the Father in Matthew 3 and prior to the remarkable transformations of John 1-4, we find the temptations of Christ.
As you read through this account in Matthew you’ll find a parallel with the testings of Israel in the wilderness in Deut. 6-8. But where Israel failed during the temptations, Christ fulfilled all righteousness.
Which emphasizes the incredible empathy Christ in His humanity has for us in the midst of temptation:
Hebrews 4:15 ESV
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Christ endured temptation victoriously, and laid out for us the perfect example.
Now concerning Christ’s desert temptations, we learn three truths when it comes to temptation:
1. Temptation occurs at our weak spots first.
Matthew 4:2 NKJV
2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.
As we are reading passages, it is crucial to remember the context.
We learned last week that Christ is Deity. He is 100% God
But Christ is also 100% human.
In the humanity of Christ, He was hungry after fasting for 40 days.
Many scoff at the thought of 40 days
In 2011 Rita Chretien, a Canadian woman survived being stranded inside a vehicle in Nevada for 48 days, by eating only some trail mix and candy, and drinking water from a stream. 
We know Ghandi went on a hunger strike for 21 days once.
Severe symptoms of starvation begin around 35-40 days, and as highlighted by the hunger strikers of the Maze Prison in Belfast in the 1980s, death can occur at around 45–61 days.
So, Jesus was hungry, and the first temptation occured at that weak spot first.
Importance of stewarding ourselves and energy well.
Getting enough sleep
Eating meals that nourish more than fill
Exercising when able
Not making big decisions when we are tired, hungry, or stressed
Take note, temptation first occurs at our weak spots.
2. Temptation questions what is true.
Matthew 4:3 NKJV
3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
Three times (vv. 3, 5, 8) Satan hinges his statement on a question - If, If, If…
Sound familiar?
Genesis 3:1 NKJV
1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
For many of us, our greatest temptations aren’t going to come with a big sign exclaiming that it leads to ruin.
No, it is going to subtly chip away at what is true.
In this instance, Satan was questioning Christ’s true identity.
“If you are the Son of God, then you should...”
Why?
Because the Son of God could do this.
Temptation questions what is true.
Gen. 3 - God’s Word; Matt 4 - God’s Son (Word)
Temptation questions what is true.
Questions your committments
God’s promises
God’s proclamations
God’s perspective
Temptation questions what is true…
AND IN THE PLACE OF TRUTH:
3. Temptation promotes temporal benefits over eternal rewards.
Matthew 4:8–9 NKJV
8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
Really Satan? Were you not around for chapter 3?
The Father proclaimed that Jesus is King and Savior.
Nonetheless, What’s going on here?
It is the same thing that goes on in your heart and mine in the moment of temptation.
We are being offered temporal benefits in exchange for eternal rewards.
We are balancing the present possibilities with the God’s infinite wisdom.
The devil is promoting the earth’s kingdoms in exchange for Christ’s eternal Kingdom.
In our context, it’s:
That second of satisfaction over the choice to endure
That moment of recognition over the choice of integrity
That brief pleasure of our flesh over the continual grace of God
Temptation is the battle of the now and the not yet
At times, the battle of what we feel and what we know.
The temptations of Jesus teach us that temptation:
Occurs at our weak points first
Questions what is true
Promotes temporal benefits over eternal rewards.
How did Christ respond?
With God’s Word.
Three times, he responded in vv. 4, 7, 10
It is written… It is also written… it is written (Deut. 6, 8)
How should we respond to temptation?
1. Know satan’s schemes
temptation:
Occurs at our weak points first
Questions what is true
Promotes temporal benefits over eternal rewards.
2 Corinthians 2:11 NKJV
11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
2. Run to God in prayer
Hebrews 4:15–16 ESV
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
3. Rest in God’s Word and Christ’s victory
1 John 4:4 KJV 1900
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Jesus’ start to ministry was prefaced by weighty temptation - yet he endured, accomplishing what we cannot.
Our endurance is dependent on His grace and our victory over temptation will eventually and fully be realized in eternity.
Jesus came, not just to give us an example, but to accomplish what we cannot.
You can’t beat temptation on your own.
There is no list of dos and don’ts that will make sure you win.
That’s why Jesus came.
Maybe you’re sitting here this morning, and for the first time, you see your sin. You see your brokenness in the light of Christ’s perfection.
Dear friend, would you repent (change your mind) about Christ and your sin and rely once and for all on His righteousness as your only hope.
Believer today, would you just stop trusting yourself to do better and begin running to God and resting in His Word and Christ’s finished work?
Would you please stop depending on yourself, and begin daily depending on God’s abundant grace?
Christ is enough for you today!
Read chapter 24 this week and join us next week as we look at Christ: No ordinary Man.
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