John's ministry was in full swing. People were confessing their sins and repenting. He was preparing the way for the coming Messiah. Jesus on the other hand was already at the right age to begin in ministry. He has publicly shown His obedience by submitting Himself in baptism and survived Satan's temptation without blemish. Jesus was preaching here and there but John was still the superstar.
Remember that John the Baptist was the pioneer evangelist. He was the first one telling people to repent and announcing coming of the Great One in this story. When his ministry was fruitful, Jesus did not try to take the leadership role by competing with him; he stayed behind John but not idly. He supported John and he got busy preparing Himself for the right time. He worked on His personal "spiritual infrastructure".
Verse 12 indicates the event that prompted Jesus to step in. John has been imprisoned and his ministry is now jeopardized. He moved from Nazareth to where John was preaching in greater Galilee. He was prepared and ready. Notice that he continued from where John left off. He preached the same message, "Repent..." Sometimes in our desire to make a mark, we change things for our personal promotion. May it be that we will always remember the reason that we've been called, regardless of the magnitude of the responsibility that we have.
After Jesus positioned Himself for the ministry, the next thing He did was to organize His team. He called those whose hearts were already prepared. It would be hard to ask anybody to do something that they themselves are not convinced of. Since we can't all be ministry leaders, most of us would play the team players. To the team players, here's what to consider:
- The call requires commitment (v. 19)
- Your commitment is a sign of your obedience (v.20)
- In obedience adjustment in your priorities is necessary (v.22)
Jesus preached in the synagogues, the traditional place of teaching. He not only taught the people in order to heal them spiritually with his messages but he also healed them physically from their sicknesses. This is the way to reach those who are lost. Spiritual transformation is foremost of our objectives, but no less is involvement in meeting their needs. Sometimes our ministry is obstructed by our unwillingness to care and serve those who we minister to. We act as if our job is only limited to teaching them the words of God per se, rather than a way of life. We are supposed to teach them how to put these teachings into action by the way we live. This is called discipleship.