A.D. 29 – Jesus’ Ministry

Jesus Christ Begins His Public Ministry

Icon of Christ Pantocrator (Pantocrator is Greek for
“almighty” or “all-powerful”)

The Baptism of Christ: In late A.D. 28 or early A.D. 29 Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan river near “Bethany beyond the Jordan” (John 1:28), which is south and east of Jericho and just north of where the Jordan river flows into the Dead Sea. The baptism of Christ is generally considered “the beginning of his public ministry”; it is the heraldic opening of the “passion play” of the Gospel. It is the second of the 6 great events in the life of Christ, which are: His Incarnation and Nativity, His Baptism, the Transfiguration of Christ, His Crucifixion, His Resurrection and ultimately His Ascension to Heaven.

The Temptation of Christ: After his baptism, Jesus walked south west into the Judean Desert (west of Jerusalem) where He prayed and fasted for 40 days and where He was then subsequently “tempted” by the Satan and overcame Satan’s temptations. He then returned to His home town of Nazareth (in the province of Galilee, roughly 110 miles north of Jerusalem).

Jesus Taught at the Synagogue in Nazareth: After his “temptation”, Jesus returned to his home town of Nazareth, where he spoke in his local synagogue and proclaimed that Isaiah’s ancient prophesies of good news to the oppressed people were coming true:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” (Luke 4:16-21).

His message was not well received by his countryman:

And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way.” (Luke 4:28-30).

Jesus then left Nazareth and traveled north-east to Capernaum on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee (a.k.a.: the Lake of Gennesaret) and He lived there “for a time”. The north shore of the Sea of Galilee became, in effect, Jesus’ “home base” for the last 3 years of his life.

Map of the Ministry of Jesus around the Sea of Galilee
(from the Holman Bible Atlas map 108)

Jesus Called His First Disciples to Him: On the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, near the village of Bethsaida (house of fishing) Jesus called Andrew who in turn called his brother Simon (who Jesus renamed Cephas “the rock”, which in Latin is Peter). Andrew and Simon were the sons of John (a.k.a.: Bar-Johan). Jesus called them to follow him “and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:16). “And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, [who were partners with Simon in his fishing business] who also were in the ship mending their nets. And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after Him” (Mark 1:19-20). The following day Jesus went and found Philip and Jesus called him. Philip then ran to tell his brother Nathanaeland saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:43-51).

Jesus Performed His First Miracle at the Wedding in Cana: Three days later (after calling his initial disciples) Jesus was invited to a wedding in Cana. He went with his Mother Mary, his brethren and his disciples. There he turned water into wine, which further convinced his disciples to believe on him. They then traveled back to Capernaum.

Note on Gospel Synopses:

Numerous gospel synopses or harmonies have been constructed over the 20 centuries since the incarnation and nativity of Christ (especially in the last two centuries). These have all been innovative human attempts to place the texts of the 4 canonized, revealed, gospels of the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) into a chronological order. The sequence of the events of the life of Christ described here is not intended to be blasphemous or to infer accurate historical certainty, I do however hope that this sequence will make it easier to put the events of the gospels into some kind of helpful context and logical order.

Note on the Common “IC XC” Abbreviation:

Note that IC XC is an ancient and standard abbreviation of the name of “Jesus Christ”. When Jesus Christ is written in Greek it is: ΙΗΣΟΥΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ. If one takes the first and last letters of ΙΗΣΟΥΣ (“Jesus”) and ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ (“Christ”) one is left with: ΙΣ ΧΣ. A line (“titlo”) is often placed over each pair of letters to indicate that it is an abbreviated sacred name. Since we don’t have sigma (“Σ”) in the western (Latin) alphabet, each sigma is converted to a “C”, giving us: “IC XC”.