Summary: A study of the beginning of Jesus' ministry in Galilee in Luke 4:14-15 will show us the characteristics of his ministry.
Jesus began his public ministry when he was about thirty years of age (Luke 3:23). John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River (3:21-22). Then the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where he fasted for forty days. Throughout this time the devil tempted Jesus to doubt God and his word. Jesus, however, withstood the temptations of the devil by believing God and trusting his word (4:1-13).
Luke then told us about Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. However, most Bible scholars believe that between Luke 4:13 (which is the conclusion of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness) and Luke 4:14 (which is the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee) “there may well have been an interval of about a year, during which the events related in John 1:19-4:42 occurred.”
So, according to John 1:19-4:42, immediately following his temptation in the wilderness, Jesus embarked on a very active ministry for about a year mostly in the region of Judea.
During this time John declared that Jesus was “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
Jesus performed his first miracle by turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana (2:1-11).
Jesus attended the annual Passover celebration in Jerusalem, and he cleared the temple of those who had turned the temple courtyard into a market instead of a place of prayer (2:14-17). Many people were in Jerusalem for the Passover and they believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing (2:23).
Jesus met with Nicodemus, who wanted to know who Jesus really was. It was to Nicodemus that Jesus said his most famous statement, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (3:16).
Jesus met with a Samaritan woman at the well, and through her testimony her entire town came to believe that Jesus was “indeed the Savior of the world” (4:42).
By now, almost a year had passed since the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. After staying in the Samaritan town for “two days [Jesus] departed for Galilee” (4:43). “So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the [Passover] feast. For they too had gone to the feast” (4:45).
The people of Galilee had heard Jesus’ teaching and seen his miracles when they went to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. They were excited about Jesus’ presence in their region, and they were ready for more!
It is at this point that Luke tells us about Jesus’ ministry in Galilee.
Let’s read about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee that is recorded in Luke 4:14-15:
14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. (Luke 4:14-15)
John Calvin was born in 1509 in Picardy, part of France. Calvin was brilliant. Initially he intended to be a priest, but his father induced him to study law. Calvin studied at different universities, including Paris, sharpening his already logical mind and avidly reading the Greek and Latin classics.
About 1533 Calvin had what he called a “sudden conversion”: “God subdued and brought my heart to docility.” Apparently he had encountered the writings of Luther. He broke from Roman Catholicism, left France, and settled in Switzerland as an exile.
In 1536, in Basel, Calvin published the first edition of one of the greatest religious works ever written, The Institutes of the Christian Religion. The title, perhaps better translated as “Principles of the Christian Faith,” introduced a book designed to “hand on some elementary teaching by which anyone who had been touched by an interest in religion might be formed to true godliness.” At the age of 27, Calvin had already produced a systematic theology, a clear defense of Reformation teachings.
His writings impressed people, including William Farel, a reformer in Geneva, Switzerland. Farel managed to get Geneva to declare its political independence from the Roman Catholic Church and declare its allegiance to Protestantism.
On his way to Strasbourg, Calvin stopped overnight in Geneva. When Farel learned that the author of the Institutes was in town, he sought him out and pled with him to stay and help the church in Geneva. Calvin refused, wanting only a quiet life of study. So Farel swore a curse on Calvin’s studies unless he stayed. “I felt as if God from heaven had laid his hand on me,” Calvin said, and Geneva became his home.
Calvin immediately set to work reorganizing the church and its worship. Under Roman Catholicism the Genevan church had observed communion only two or three times a year. Calvin, who favored a weekly celebration, recommended a monthly observance as an interim compromise. Calvin’s emphasis on church discipline grew directly out of his high regard for the Lord’s Supper. To oversee that the sacrament was taken worthily Calvin instituted a church board (the Genevan Consistory), which ensured that all communicants (those participating in communion) truly belonged to the “body of Christ” and also were practicing what they professed. Calvin also introduced congregational singing into the church—“to incite the people to prayer and to praise God.”