Keith Hunt - Bible Story, NT - Chapter Ten: Christ's Early Teaching and Healing   Restitution of All Things
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New Testament Bible Story

Chapter Ten:

Christ's Early Teaching and Healing


     John the baptist had already told his disciples that the
time was very near when he, John, must decrease in his work for
God, and the one called Jesus, the Messiah, must increase in His
work for the Lord. That time had now come.
     John was a very outspoken prophet and minister of the
Eternal God. He often called a spade a spade, laid in on the
line, put the cards on the table as they say. He was this way
with other religious leaders as we have seen. He was this way
with even some of the secular rulers of the Government of Rome.
He was not afraid to call sin what it was, sin. So disturbed did
a few Roman governors get that finally they could stand it no
longer, and John was thrown into prison.
     
     Jesus, on hearing this news withdrew from Galilee, and
leaving Nazareth He went and dwelt in Capernaum by the seaside,
with was in the territory of the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali
when those tribes lived before they were deported by the
Assyrians way back in about 720 B.C.
     This was actually a fulfillment of that written about by
Isaiah, " The land of Zebulun and the land O Naphtali, towards
the east, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles - the people
who lived in darkness have come to see a wonderful light, and for
those who sat in the place and in the shadow of death, light has
dawned upon them " (Isaiah 9:1-3).
     This is another instance that makes prophecy interesting to
say the least. For as you read Isaiah 9, not many would gather
from it that it would have a fulfillment in this account of Jesus
going to stay there as recorded by the Gospel of Matthew
(Mat.4:12-16).

     It was from that time forth that Christ really began to
proclaim, " The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at
hand, repent, and believe in the gospel " (Mark 1:14,15).

     Then Jesus returned to Galilee with great power from the
Spirit. Much report went out concerning Him into all the
surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues,
being well received and praised and glorified by all (Luke 4:
14,15).

JESUS RETURNS TO NAZARETH AND IS REJECTED

     Jesus was a regular Sabbath synagogue attender, and on
returning to His home town Nazareth, where He spent much of His
childhood, He naturally went to church on the Sabbath day. 
     Part of the service was to always have someone read from the
Scriptures. Jesus stood and all knew He was willing and wanting
to read from God's holy word. He was handed the book of Isaiah,
the ancient prophet. Jesus opened the book and deliberately
found a certain passage, and He began to read:

     " The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed
     me to preach good news to the poor, He has sent me to
     proclaim freedom to the  captives and to give sight to the
     blind, to set at rest and peace those who are oppressed, to
     proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. "
     
     He then stopped reading, closed the book and sat down. How
He read those words must have caught the attention of every
single person in the building, for it is stated that all eyes
were fixed on Him. If they thought His presence and voice was
dynamic, they certainly were not expecting His next words to
them.
     " Today this very Scripture has been fulfilled right in your
sight and your hearing."

     They really did not quite "get it" - they all continued to
speak well of Him and wondered at the eloquent words coming from
His lips. 
     Then they began to mutter among themselves, " Isn't this
young fellow the son of Joseph. " And by that they were meaning
to say that Jesus was just the son of a tradesman, a carpenter,
not the son of some prince, or king, or prestigious rich person
who could have been given some expensive and honored education in
the top Universities within the lands of the Roman Empire.

     Jesus knew their thoughts, how they were thinking He could
amount to no great acclaim, for to them He was just a "no-body"
like themselves.
     Christ answered them, " Doubtless you will quote to me the
proverb, 'Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did
over in Capernaum, well do here also in your own place of
upbringing.' "
     He went on speaking, " It is a truth that no prophet is
acceptable in his own home land.  I tell you, there were many
widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens
were shut up for three years and six months, when there was a
great famine in all the land. And Elijah was sent to none of them
but only to one widow of Zarephath in the land of Sion. And there
were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; and
none of them were cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian. "

     Oh, they got the message now alright.  He was now telling
them that many who should have "been with it" and should have had
God with them, were out in left field, sat on the grass eating
their lunch, when they should have been part of the big ball
game, and playing on the winning team. On the team where the only
true Holy God was captain, and Jesus as His vice-captain. If they
had been spiritually mental and ready to join that team then
miracles would have happened to them as it did to that one widow
and to that Naaman the Syrian. Jesus was telling them they just
were not alert and driving in the drivers seat, but were curled
up in the back seat, sleeping.

     Oh, yes, they got the picture this time, and were they ever
white hot with anger.
     So full of wrath they were that they pushed Him along out of
the city, to a brow of the hill that the city was built on. There
they were planning to actually throw Him down head-first, with a
possible result being death. They were ready to kill Him.
     Jesus must have looked at them at this point in such a way,
and with the very power of the Spirit of God flowing from Him,
they were stunned. Just could not move, could not bring
themselves to throw Him down the cliff. Jesus, we are told,
simply walked through the middle of the crowd and went His way
(Luke 4: 16-30).

PETER, ANDREW, JAMES, JOHN, ARE OFFICIALLY CALLED 
TO JESUS' MINISTRY, AFTER A GREAT CATCH OF FISH

     Jesus had already been with some of the men who would now be
called by Him to follow Him on a constant basis during His
ministry. We have seen this in past chapters.
     There was a time of overlapping of the ministry of John the
baptist and the ministry of Jesus. Jesus had been out here and
there, getting His feet wet as we might say, easing into the main
full time work that was now ahead of Him. He had, on some of
those occasions taken along a number of men, all whom we could
classify as "His disciples."
     Now, it was time for picking ones whom He wanted to follow
Him on a daily basis, as a way of life with Him, until the time
for His death.

     The Gospel writer that covers this account in-depth is Luke.
He takes eleven verses to fill us in on the details of these four
men (Peter, Andrew, James and John) being called from their
normal secular work jobs to full time in Jesus' ministry.

     Jesus was by the lake of Gennesaret. He was preaching to
them the word of God. The crowd grew and grew, until they were
pressing all around Him. He saw two boats, empty, for the
fishermen were washing their nets on the shore. Jesus climbs into
one, which belonged to Peter, and asked him to move it out, away
from the shore. Now He could teach the people and not have them
pressing too close to Him.
     After the teaching session, Jesus asked Peter (and it would
seem Andrew his brother was with him, if we look at the other
Gospel writers) to pull further out into the water. This they
were glad to do as they could cast their nets out to pull in some
fish. Not far away was another fishing boat with James and John,
also two brothers, and with them was their father Zebedee. They
were fishing partners with Peter and Andrew.

     Peter was not sure if he really wanted to cast out his net
for they had worked all night and had caught not one fish. Jesus
said, " Go out into the deep and put down your nets for a catch."
     " Well...okay, " said Peter, " For you we will do so, but I
do not see the point of all this, for we got nothing all night
long. "
     
     It was not long before Peter's face turned into a look of
astonishment. The catch of fish was so great the nets were
breaking. So Peter called on their friends and fellow
fishermen, James and John, in the boat nearby, to come and help
them. The help was given and both boats were filled so full with
fish that they were close to sinking.
     Simon Peter was so awe stuck at all this, he knew he was in
the presence of God in the flesh, Immanuel , and that hit him
like a plank of wood between the eyes, that he, Simon Peter, was
a sinner. He cried out for Jesus to leave Him, saying, " Depart
from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man. "

     All the men that were there were just as astonished.  But
all this was done to teach those men something much more
permanent in nature. Something of far more important value than
catching mere physical fish. Jesus said to Peter and the others,
" Do not be afraid; from this time forth you will be catching
men. "
     Of course Christ was meaning that their new job was to catch
or bring people into the spiritual family of God, into the
Kingdom of God, by proclaiming the Gospel of salvation.

     Jesus now beckoned those four men to put away being
fishermen and to be with Him as part of His daily life disciples.
They immediately obeyed and went with Him. Zebedee (the father of
James and John) and some hired hands were not called to go with
Jesus, they stayed and presumably continued the fishing
partnership and business, but without Peter, Andrew, James and
John ( Luke 5:1-11; Mat.4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; ).

TEACHING IN CAPERNAUM

     Back to Capernaum goes Jesus, and on the Sabbath day He
immediately goes to the synagogue and teaches. They were, it is
written, astonished at His teaching and His words, for they knew
He was teaching them as one having authority, being very sure of
Himself, and that what He taught was the very truth of God. This
was indeed different to them, for the scribes taught in no such
way, for they were not at all sure many times as to what the
Scriptures taught or said, or how to understand them ( Mark
1:21,22 ).

JESUS HEALS A MAN WITH A DEMON

     As He was teaching in the synagogue there came up to Him a
man possessed with a demon.  " Ah, why are you having anything to
do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? " the demon cried out in a loud
voice through the man. " I know who you are, others may not,
but I sure know who you are. You are the Holy One, of God " the
demon cried out further.
     " Be quiet, and come out of him, " answered Jesus.  
     The demon throw the man to the ground, but did not hurt him.
Then the demon came out of him as Jesus as commanded.

     The people around were all shocked with amazement. " What is
this word He speaks? For with authority and with power He
commands the evil spirits, and they come out of people. "

     So, the report of the mighty words and powerful acts of
Jesus spread into all the surrounding regions (Luke 4:33-37).

JESUS HEALS PETER'S MOTHER-IN-LAW AND OTHERS

     After the synagogue meeting was over Jesus was invited over
to the house of Peter and Andrew. James and John were invited to
come also. There in the house was Peter's mother-in-law, who was
very sick with a fever.
     He came in and took her by the hand, so lifting her up, and
the fever immediately left her. She was now able to serve them
and provide them with physical food for a good Sabbath meal. Yes,
others may have been able to have done all that, but Jesus wanted
this relatively small sickness that this lady had to be gone from
her, so she could also enjoy a fine Sabbath meal with them.  It
was a small kindness miracle that Jesus did, somewhat like when
He turned water into wine at the wedding feast we read about
earlier.

     When evening had come, and the sun was setting, many brought
friends and relatives who had various sicknesses, to Him to be
healed.
     You will notice, this large work of healing was not done on
the Sabbath, but after the Sabbath was over, when the sun was
setting and the evening had come. Jesus did a few Sabbath
healing, but the large numerous healings were not on the Sabbath
day. It took much effort and work and strength out of Jesus,
after doing healing upon healing. Jesus would often have to go
away by Himself into the hills to refresh Himself after
spending hours healing people. Such hard continous work was
clearly not what He wanted to do during the Sabbath hours.

     At this healing session many demons came out of people
crying, " You are the Son of God. "  Yet, He rebuked them and
told them not to speak, because they knew He was the very Christ.
     For some reason, known perhaps only to Jesus, He did not
want this truth of Him being the Son of God shouted around.  At
this particular time Jesus had a reason, although we are not told
what it was or why He told the demons to be silent with those
words.

PREACHING IN OTHER CITIES

     The next day, very early, Jesus was up and away to a lonely
spot where He could pray and meditate. But the solitude was not
to last long, as the people discovered where He had gone. They
would have kept Him there to continue to heal every kind of
disease, sickness, pain, and the paralytics, the epileptics and
those troubled with demons. His fame was spreading like
wild-fire, even into the land of Syria as well as all over
Palestine.

     Simon Peter and many other of His disciples came to Him and
told Him that everyone in that local area was searching for Him.
At the hearing of this, Jesus said to them, " Let us go on to the
next towns, that I may preach the good news of the Kingdom
of God there also; for that is why I am here, that is my job and
commission given to me of the Father. "

     And He went throughout Galilee, teaching and preaching in
the synagogues and casting out demons (Mat.4:23-25; Mark 1:35-39;
Luke 4:42-44).

CLEANSING A LEPER

     Coming from the secluded mountain spot and moving on to the
next town, great crowds of people were following Him, and out of
the crowd a man suffering from the disease of leprosy (a terrible
skin disease that can easily be passed on to others, hence
most people kept far away from those with that sickness) fell
before Him on his knees and cried out, " If you will, you can
make me whole and clean. "

     Jesus looked upon him with great pity, stretched out His
hand and touched him (no one would ever touch a leper as they
knew they would likely come down with the same disease), and
answered him said, " I will make you whole. Be indeed clean. "
And immediately the leprosy disappeared from his skin.

     Jesus, in sending him away, charged him to tell no person
what had happened to him, and added, "....but go, show yourself
to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded,
for a proof to the people. "

     Christ was very respectful of all the word of God and
knowing that the Old Covenant had not yet in an official way been
replaced by the New Covenant, He expected people to abide by all
the laws and commandments, even the physical ceremonial ones that
had to do with offerings to be given through the priests at the
Temple in Jerusalem, concerning after being made clean from
certain diseases.

                .............................

Written in May 2001


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