Chapter 3 Applause and Increasing Opposition
In the last chapters we studied the first year of Jesus’ public ministry. It was a year in which he moved from being unknown to well-known. During the next three months （January through March of A.D. 28） Jesus carried on an active ministry among the people of Galilee. Most people received him favorably, but at the same time some opposition also began to appear.
The Woman at the Well （Matt. 4:12; Mark 2:24; Luke 4:14; John 4:1-42） 井边的妇人（太4:12;可2:24;路4:14;约4:-42）
Some people think the events of Jesus’ early ministry happened mostly by accident. This, however, is not true. When Jesus left heaven and became human, he already had a clear picture of the saving work he had to do. So from the very beginning all of his traveling, deeds and teaching were done just to carry out that ministry.
Jesus began his public ministry in Jerusalem, the center of Old Testament worship. By cleansing the temple he showed himself to be the Lord of the temple, the long awaited Messiah. Throughout Judea John the Baptist had already preached against the false teachings （heresy） of the Jewish religious leaders. Now Jesus came proclaiming the true Gospel of salvation.
The Old Testament prophecies foretold that the Messiah would come to the Jews, but not to the Jews only （Is. 42:6; 49:6）。 As Simeon said, Jesus was to be the “glory of his people Israel” but also “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” （Luke 2:32）。 Thus, after beginning his work among the Israelites, Jesus set out for the Jewish province of Galilee. First, however, he paused in the Gentile region of Samaria.
Most Jews traveling north from Judea felt it was necessary to avoid Samaria. Some seven centuries earlier Israelites had lived in this area, then called Samaria. However when the Assyrians conquered the area they deported many of the Jews and replaced them with pagan peoples （2 Kings 17）。 Soon the Jews who were still living in Samaria began intermarrying with the unbelievers. Soon their true religion also was mixed with other false beliefs.
In Jesus’ day the Samaritan’s Bible was made up of the first five books of the Old Testament. They also worshiped Jehovah, but also they allowed pagan beliefs and idols. Their center of worship was the top of Mt. Gerizim, not the temple in Jerusalem. Consequently, the Jews looked down on the Samaritans. And the Samaritans in turn hated the Jews.
But Jesus would not take part in ethnic hatred. He viewed the Samaritans just as he did the Jews all were sinners in need of a savior. Interestingly, he chose a very sinful woman to evangelize on this trip.
When we look closely, we can see Jesus’ excellent evangelism skills with the woman at the well. He made her curious, making her interested in something she didn’t have （John 4:4-15）。 Next, he showed her her sins and encouraged her to confess her guilt （vv. 16-19）。 Finally, avoiding an argument about worship methods, he told her he was the Messiah, the true and living God （vv 20-26）。
The Samaritan woman’s faith produced immediate fruits. She went to the people she knew and talked about the Savior. They came to Jesus, perhaps out of curiosity, but then believed his word of eternal life. Within two days many souls were saved.
Jesus Preaches in Galilee （Matt. 4:27; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 4:14-15; John 4:43-45） 耶稣在加利利布道（太4:27;可1:14-15;路4:14-15;约4:43-45）
From Samaria Jesus and his disciples traveled north toward Galilee. Along the way Jesus let the disciples return to their homes and former occupations. Perhaps Jesus also spent some time resting after his first year of preaching.
However, Jesus was not to enjoy much rest and quiet. Many of the Galileans who earlier had seen him perform miracles in Jerusalem now recognized him. Soon news of his presence spread throughout Galilee.
Healing the Nobleman’s Son （John 4:46-54） 医治大臣的儿子（约4:46-54）
In Cana Jesus was met by a certain nobleman whose son was sick. This man, possibly the man called Cuza in Luke 8:3, begged Jesus to come to Capernaum and heal the youth. The nobleman had a weak faith, one based on seeing miracles and not on the Word of Jesus Christ. The Lord knew this, so he sent him home with nothing but a word of hope and the promise, “You may go. Your son will live” （John 4:50）。 The nobleman believed, went home, and found his son healed. He and his entire household came to faith that day.
Rejection in Nazareth （Matt. 14:3-5; Mark 6:19-20; Luke 3:19-20; 4:16-30） 耶稣在拿撒勒被拒（太14:3-5;可6:19-20;路3:19-20;4:16-30）
Perhaps while Jesus was in Cana he received word that John the Baptist had been arrested. King Herod had imprisoned him at the fortress of Machaerus near the Dead Sea. The forerunner’s task was complete. Now it was time for Jesus to begin his great Galilean ministry.
As Jesus walked toward Nazareth one thought was on his mind –“a prophet has no honor in his own country.” That proverb was fulfilled on the Sabbath day when Jesus entered the synagogue in Nazareth. He knew the place well, having worshiped there since he was a child. Inside, the men sat on one side with the women hidden behind a screen on the other. Near the middle of the room there was a raised area with a speaker’s stand and seat. To the south was a painted box （ark） which contained the sacred Scriptures.
The service opened with a blessing followed by a creed, and then prayers. The leader then moved from the speaker’s stand to the altar and offered a series of prayers for the day. Since Jesus was asked to give the sermon he was probably asked to conduct this portion off the service as well. After the prayers, one of Aaron’s descendants, if one was present, pronounced the Aaronic Blessing （Num. 6:22-26）。 This ended the liturgy.
The teaching part of the service began with seven men reading parts of the Law （the first five books of the Old Testament）。 Next Jesus walked to the speaker’s stand where he was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and read Isaiah 61:1-2. Meanwhile the congregation stood quietly and listened. When the reading was over Jesus sat in the speaker’s seat and the people also sat down.
Jesus explained the good news in his text. He announced that he was the long awaited Messiah spoken of in those verses. At first the congregation was amazed, but soon they became angry. It those days the men often openly expressed themselves in the service. Soon there was mumbling. Then the sounds of anger grew louder. The people said that Jesus was just a simple carpenter’s son. They demanded miracles as proof of his claim. Jesus tried to show the people the error of their ways, but they would not listen.
By then the congregation had become a mob. They dragged Jesus from the synagogue and took him to a rocky cliff at the edge of the town. They wanted to throw him to his death, but his time to die had not yet come. Jesus walked through the midst of the mob and quietly left Nazareth.
Calling of Four Apostles （Matt. 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20） 呼召四个使徒（太4:18-22;可1:16-20）
From Nazareth Jesus then went to Capernaum which now became his home. Capernaum was an ideal base for Jesus’ mission work. It a very important city in Galilee. Located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee it was home for many fishermen. It was situated along the chief road between the important city of Damascus and the Mediterranean Sea. It was a center for trade, commerce, and communication. The city was so important that it became the center for collecting taxes and a group of Roman soldiers was stationed there. Years later St. Paul followed Jesus’ example and used important cities as centers for his ministry.
One day while walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee Jesus spotted his friends Peter and Andrew. His message to them was simple, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men” （Matt. 4:19）。 Before he had called them to be his followers, now he was calling them to be his helpers. A little further along the shore he saw James and John and called them as well.
Miracle of Fish （Luke 5:1-11） 打渔的奇迹（路5:1-11）
Soon a crowd had gathered around Jesus. In order to be more easily seen and heard he climbed into an empty fishing boat and had Peter push it a few feet off from shore. Sitting down, he began to preach the Gospel message.
When the sermon was over, he had Peter go out into deep water and let down the fishing nets. While fishing usually had its best results at night and near the shore, Peter still obeyed. Immediately the nets were filled with fish. Seeing what had happened, Peter’s fishing partners went out in a second boat. The fish filled both boats until they nearly sunk. Amazed by the miracle, Peter cried out “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man” （Luke 5:8）！
This was clearly the wrong way to think. Sinners must seek Jesus’ presence for the forgiveness of sins, not order him to go away. The proper response is that of the hymn writer Magnus B. Landstad who wrote:
When sinners see their lost condition
And feel the pressing load of sin,
And Jesus comes upon his mission
To heal the sin-sick heart within,
All grief must flee before his grace
And joy divine will take its place.
But Jesus did not get angry with Peter. He simply stated, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men” （Luke 5:10）。
Miracles in Capernaum （Matt.8:14-17; Mark 1:21-34; Luke 4:31-41） 在迦百农行神迹（太8:14-17;可1:21-34;路4:31-41）
So we have studied three miracles of Jesus: changing water into wine at Cana, healing the nobleman’s son, and now catching a full boat of fish. Later, in one day alone, he cast a demon from a man who had entered the synagogue in Capernaum, healed Peter’s mother-in-law, and that evening healed many and cast out many demons （Mark 1:21-34）。
Notice that Jesus did not work miracles to win the favor of the people. Sometimes he did his mighty works of love simply to help someone in need. At other times his wonders showed that he was God and the promised Messiah. But most of his miracles did both of these at the same time. For example, at the wedding in Cana he kept a young couple from being embarrassed. Yet, by doing this, he proved that he was the Son of God.
We should also note that Jesus never did miracles in anger. In Old Testament times prophets frequently did mighty works showing God’s anger towards sinful men （Num. 16:31; 2 Kings 1:10-12）。 Jesus, on the other hand, was against this （Luke 9:54-56）。 He only performed signs of grace and mercy.
First Tour of Galilee （Matt. 4:23-25; Mark 1:35-45; Luke 4:42-44; 5:12-16） 第一次走遍加利利（太4:23-25;可1:35-45;路4:42-44;5:12-16）
After spending a few days in Capernaum Jesus decided to take his ministry throughout Galilee. He thought that the people of Capernaum needed some time to think about all they had seen and heard. Meanwhile he would go from town to town preaching the Gospel. Jesus did not arrive at this decision easily. It came only after hours of quiet prayer （Mark 1:35）。 As we have seen, the Lord always prayed before making major decisions.
Jesus preached and performed miracles throughout Galilee. His acts of mercy, however, could at times cause problems for his teaching. One example can be seen in the story of a leper.
Leprosy was a very terrible disease. People with leprosy were considered the living dead. Leprosy first attacked the skin, leaving sores and raised lumps. Then it attacked the soft parts of the mouth and throat. Finally, as the disease got worse, the victim’s hair would fall out. His nose and lips would be eaten away, and his bones and joints would begin to rot.
One day as Jesus was walking along, a man “covered with leprosy” suddenly came up to him. Jesus reached out and touched him, and immediately the disease disappeared. Christ sent the man to the priest to be declared clean. But first he ordered him not to tell anyone what had happened. Jesus did not want people only to think about the miracles he did. He wanted them to think more about the message he was preaching. But what Jesus had feared took place. The man talked freely. As a result, crowds of sick and curious people gathered in every city where Jesus went. “As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere” （Mark 1:45）。
Healing of a Paralytic （Matt. 9:2-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26） 医治瘫子（太9:2-8;可2:1-12;路5:17-26）
After many days, perhaps weeks, Jesus returned to Capernaum. Soon a crowd gathered. But not all of these people were local people. Pharisees and Scribes from various Galilean towns and from far away Jerusalem had traveled to hear and see him. Many of these men were religious leaders. They wanted to keep an eye on Jesus.
An unusual event took place one day while Jesus was preaching to a large gathering inside Peter’s house. Four men had promised to help their paralyzed friend by taking him to Jesus. But a large crowd blocked the doors so they could not get close to Jesus. Instead they carried their paralyzed friend up the outside stairs to the top of the flat roof. Then they removed some of the roof tiles, and using ropes lowered him down on a mattress.
Jesus, however, didn’t just cure the man. Instead he said something very unexpected: “Friend, your sins are forgiven” （Luke 5:20）。 The Pharisees and Scribes immediately became angry. They thought, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But that was the point Jesus was trying to make. Jesus was himself truly God. Then Christ healed the man. On that day the Lord gave a public show of his divine authority to forgive sins and of his power to heal.
Call of Matthew （Matt. 9:9-13; Mark 2:13-17; Luke 5:27-32） 呼召马太（太9:9-13;可2:13-17;路5:27-32）
Jesus spent that evening with some of the religious leaders of Israel. Soon after, he was surrounded by people who were not respected in society. They were well known as sinners, and were dinner guests of a man called Levi.
Earlier that day Jesus had preached near the Sea of Galilee. Close by was the great highway running north to Damascus. Since this road was heavily traveled by merchants, the Roman government had set up toll booths. There tax collectors gathered import and export fees. These tax collectors often cheated people. They also worked for the Roman government. As a result, the Jews hated them.
When Jesus passed the tax collector Levi, he said, “Follow me” （Matt. 9:9）。 Levi did follow Jesus. Shortly afterwards he invited Jesus and his disciples to a dinner also attended by his friends. When the Pharisees and Scribes heard of this they became angry. Jesus’ response to them has warmed the hearts of repentant sinners to this day. “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” （Luke 5:31-32）。
Lesson on Fasting （Matt. 9:14-17; Mark 2:18-22; Luke 5:33-39） 有关禁食的教导（太9:14-17;可2:18-22;路5:33-39）
It was becoming more and more clear that Jesus’ teaching and life was very different from the religion practiced by the Pharisees. Among other things, Jesus did not encourage his disciples to fast. When he was asked about this, his answer was simple. Since Jesus was with his disciples now in person, it was not the right time to fast. Fasting was done to show grief and sorrow. After Jesus returned to heaven, then his disciples could fast.