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Thursday, November 22 2012
How Did The Messiah's Ministry Begin?
"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I"
The Messiah's Ministry began upon the successful completion of the ministry of John the Baptist (see Ahead Of The Prophet).
"3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand [see Repent, For The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand].
Baptism is a formal and public declaration of repentance, and a pledge to thereafter live as best as humanly possible according to the true Word of God (see What Does Word of God Mean To You?). The Messiah was sinless, and John knew it - hence his reluctance to baptize for repentance the only sinless human (see Who Was Created Sinless?). But the Messiah insisted that it be done so that no "steps" on the way to salvation, that the Messiah created for humanity, be left out ("2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." 1 John 2:5-6 KJV). So then, "Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him."
"3:13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 3:14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? [see Jesus And John: Similarities And Differences and The Ministries Of The Two Greatest Prophets]
"Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve"
The Messiah then went hunting for the Devil. The Messiah did so by making Himself weak with great hunger; it would be a contest between the Messiah at His weakest, against the Devil at his strongest. Those who may have witnessed them together would have seen a "pretty boy" (see Satan's Masquerade) and an ordinary-looking "homely" man ("53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:2-5 KJV).
Satan began his attack with mock doubt ("If thou be the Son of God"), while he knew that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God.
"4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." (Matthew 4:3 KJV)
The Word of God (see What Does Word of God Mean To You?) responded with the Word of God, using a quote of Deuteronomy 8:3: "8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."
"4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4 KJV)
The Devil then mis-quoted Scripture, of Psalm 91:11-12 ("91:11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 91:12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone") in an attempt to get the Messiah to do what the Devil wanted.
"4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." (Matthew 4:5-6 KJV)
The Messiah answered with a quote of Deuteronomy 6:15-16: "6:15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah."
"4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." (Matthew 4:7 KJV)
Satan then offered Jesus everything in the world as it is, "all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them." The world of deception and destruction that Satan has built (see also What Happens After The Messiah Returns?).
"4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." (Matthew 4:8-9 KJV)
The Messiah again replied with the Word of God, a quote from Deuteronomy 6:13-14: "6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. 6:14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you." The contest was over.
"4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"
Just as John the Baptist had preached in preparation of the Messiah's Ministry, the LORD (see Who Is The LORD?) began His Messianic Ministry with the same words: "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"
"4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison [see Ahead Of The Prophet], he departed into Galilee [see also The Cities Of Lake Galilee]; 4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 4:14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
The disciples ("disciple" means student) who would become the twelve apostles were then chosen, beginning with four local fishermen.
"4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter [see also What Did Peter and John See That Others Didn't?], and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 4:20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
John's ministry of preparation had been very successful. Many of those who had followed John immediately followed Jesus, plus many more when they heard and saw the Messiah. There is no record of John the Baptist doing miracles, but the Messiah did so from the start.
"4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom [see The Constitution Of The Kingdom Of God], and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. 4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan." (Matthew 4:23-25 KJV)
The Messiah then began to preach with power and clarity - not merely physical sound, but by means of the Holy Spirit, to those "with ears to hear."
"5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
The Messiah's "salt of the earth" and "Let your light so shine before men" were His commission to the first fruits of salvation (see The Harvest Prophecies).
"5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
The content of the beginning of His Ministry guaranteed the confrontation to come, then, and in the end time, between those who truly live by the Word of God, and those who do as they please in God's Name (see Blaspheming The Name Of God).
"5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil [see Works Means Obedience and Christ Died For Repentant Sinners]. 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Fact Finder: How are there yet two worlds in existence at this time, until Christ's return?
This Day In History, November 22
498: Upon the death of Pope Anastasius II, Symmachus was elected Pope in the Lateran Palace, while Laurentius was elected Pope in Santa Maria Maggiore (see The Struggle For The Papacy).
845: Nominoe, the first King of all Brittany, defeated the Frankish king Charles the Bald at the Battle of Ballon, near Redon.
1220: Frederick II was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Honorius III at St. Peter's in Rome (see The Holy Roman Empire and Emperors and Popes). Frederick pledged to defend the Catholic Church and launch the next "Crusade" (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
1497: Vasco Da Gama of Portugal became the first navigator to sail around the Cape of Good Hope in his search for a sea route to India.
1718: Edward Teach, the English pirate known as "Blackbeard," was killed off the east coast of North America.
1757: Austrian forces defeated the Prussians at Breslau during the Seven Years War.
1830: The Belgian Congress voted to establish the country into a monarchy.
1860: Prior to the U.S. Civil War, a secessionist meeting was held in Abbeville, South Carolina, causing some to refer to the city as "The Birthplace and Deathbed of the Confederacy" (Jefferson Davis held one of his last cabinet meetings there on May 2 1865).
1869: In Dumbarton, Scotland, the clipper Cutty Sark was launched. It was one of the last clippers ever built, and the only one still surviving today.
1878: In Afghanistan, the British under Sir Samuel Browne bombed and captured the Ali Masjid fortress, thus beginning the Second Afghan War.
1906: The International Radio Telecommunications Commission adopted "SOS" as a new distress call.
1942: The Soviet army completed the encirclement of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad during the Second World War (listen also to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1943: Lebanon became independent after 23 years of French rule.
1963: U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated at age 46. The shots were allegedly fired in Dallas from the Texas School Book Depository by Lee Harvey Oswald, 24, who himself was shot and killed 2 days later while denying the charge and claiming "I'm just a patsy."
1967: United Nations Resolution 242 was passed by the Security Council. It intended to provide Israel with secure frontiers, while at the same time requiring it to return "conquered" territories, and stated a need for a just solution for the Palestinian refugees (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Balfour Declaration).
1975: Juan Carlos was sworn in as king of Spain, the first Spanish monarch since Alfonso XIII went into exile in 1931. General Francisco Franco, who had ruled Spain since 1939, died 2 days earlier.
1990: Margaret Thatcher announced her resignation as British Prime Minister after 11 years in office.
1991: The UN Security Council chose Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Boutros Boutros Ghali to be UN Secretary General, succeeding Javier Perez de Cuellar.
2005: Angela Merkel became the first female Chancellor of Germany.