When Jesus was baptized he received special strength from the Holy Spirit （see Chapter 2）。 Now that we have studied the first year and a half of Jesus ministry, we can see why he needed that strength. The religious leaders were constantly objecting to what Jesus did and said. And yet Jesus kept complete control of himself and always kept a proper Christian view of his ministry. In this chapter we continue our look at Jesus’ Great Galilean Ministry （June-October, A.D. 28）。 Once again we see him despised and rejected by many, yet filled with love and compassion. Boldly he continues his mission of sharing the Gospel message.
After his Sermon on the Mount Jesus returned to Capernaum. There some Jewish elders came to Jesus asking him to help a Gentile （non-Jew）。 They told him about a Roman captain who wished Jesus to heal his sick and dying servant. Of course, Jesus healed the servant. He even commented, “I have not found such great faith even in Israel” （Luke 7:9）。
Luke 7:1-10 reveals what Christ calls a great faith. The captain was humbled because of his sins. He admitted that he was not worthy of Jesus’ help （vv 6-7a）。 Yet he firmly trusted that Jesus was willing and able to help （vv 7b-8）。 Finally, his faith in God produced good works （vv 4-5） including his concern for his servant’s life （vv 2-3）。
From Capernaum Jesus, his disciples, and a large crowd traveled about 25 miles to the southwest to the town of Nain. There they witnessed a sad sight. A group of people were carrying a young man who had died to the cemetery. His mother, a widow, was now left all alone. Jesus had mercy on the mother, touched the coffin and ordered the dead boy to arise. Immediately the young man sat up and spoke. Those who witnessed this miracle should have worshiped Jesus as the Messiah. Instead many thought he was just another prophet like Elijah or Elisha, who had worked similar miracles （1 Kings 17:21; 2 Kings 4:35）。 But Jesus did not have to pray first. He could perform this kind of miracle by his own authority and power.
Jesus passed the summer months in Galilee, preaching, teaching, and healing. Meanwhile 70 miles to the south John the Baptist was locked in a prison. It seems that Herod let John’s disciples visit their master from time to time. Some of them must have told John they were confused about Jesus. If he was the Messiah, why did he not come and rescue John the forerunner?
Rather than answer their questions directly, John sent two of his followers to Jesus. When they found him they asked, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” （Luke 7:19）。 Jesus answered by inviting them to see for themselves whether he was fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies. They quickly saw that Jesus was fulfilling them!
As the two disciples left, Jesus looked at the crowd around him. His heart was filled with deep disappointment. Although Jesus was very clear in his teachings and showed that he was God in many ways, many of the people refused to believe or did not immediately believe. There were only a few loyal followers like John. And while some people had accepted John’s testimony and baptism, most were like the Pharisees and Scribes. They did not accept but rather laughed at John or spoke evil of his teachings. They thought that demons were causing John to lead such a simple way of life in the desert. In the same way they would not listen to Jesus. They thought he was not religious enough because he ate and drank like the common people.
Elsewhere things were very much the same. The cities of Korizin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum are cases in point. During his ministry Jesus had visited the first two of these cities and had performed mighty miracles. Then there was Capernaum, the most honored of all cities, Jesus’ mission headquarters. There the local people had witnessed many of his miracles.
While it is true that the people of these cities were impressed by Jesus’ miracles and flocked to see him and to have him satisfy their needs, nevertheless, “they did not repent” （Matt. 11:20）。 To them, Jesus was a doer of good deeds, not a long awaited and much needed savior from sin. Consequently, Jesus pronounced a curse. On Judgment Day it would be more tolerable for the pagans of ancient Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom than for the three cities of Jesus’ day. （By the way, this story also shows that there are different amounts of suffering in hell.）
In spite of so many unbelievers Christ’s ministry was like a fruit tree - it did produce fruit or results. As promised （Is. 55:11）， God’s Word does change the hearts of people. Looking on the brighter side, Jesus thanked his Father for those whose hearts had been changed. Finally, to show that God’s grace was for everyone, Jesus invited all people to exchange the guilt of their sins for his spiritual rest, peace and security.
By now Jesus was very famous around Galilee. Simon the Pharisee hoped to increase his own social position by inviting Jesus to dinner in his home. While Simon appeared friendly, he did not greet Jesus with a kiss, and he did not have his servants wash Jesus’ dusty feet. These were the normal ways people showed hospitality to their guests.
While they were dining, a woman entered the room. Some people recognized her as a woman who earned money by having sex with men. Now, however, she was crying because of her sin. She completely humbled herself before Christ, washing his feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair. Seeing this, the host Simon decided that Jesus really could not be a prophet, because he did not seem to know that this woman was a very bad sinner. But Jesus did know. Through a parable he taught that people like this woman who feel their sins most deeply, will love God the most when they come to know his forgiveness. So Jesus assured her that her sins were forgiven, noting that her faith had saved her. Only God can forgive sins. The other dinner guests questioned in their minds by what right Jesus could forgive her those sins. They could still not see that Jesus could do this because he was God.
Before leaving this story we should talk about who this woman was. Many writers have claimed that she was Mary Magdalene. In fact, today most Christians think of Mary as a converted prostitute or adulteress. But nowhere does Scripture say this. Therefore, we should not either. The Eighth Commandment tells us that we should speak well of people, so we should do the same to Mary Magdelene.
The next several weeks, perhaps months, of Christ’s ministry are summarized in three short verses （Luke 8:1-3）。 Yet, in this brief summary we have answers to two very interesting questions: on what subject did Jesus preach, and where did he get money or food to carry on his ministry?
Throughout the villages and cities of Galilee Jesus preached “the good news of the kingdom of God.” In fact, there are three separate instances of Jesus’ preaching in Galilee: first, Mark 1:39 and Luke 4:43; second, Luke 8:1; third, Mark 6:6 and Matt. 9:35. In each case he preached the same message, the good news of the Kingdom of God or Heaven.
Briefly, the Kingdom of God is the rule of God, through the Holy Spirit, in the hearts of believers. Those who through the work of the Spirit believe in Jesus as Savior are no longer subjects of Satan’s Kingdom, but belong to God. Thus Christ preached the Gospel. He preached about himself （John 3:16）。
Godly women made freewill offerings so that Jesus and his disciples could devote their full time to ministry. Among these women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Susanna. They can also teach us how we too can use our time, money and talents the way God would want us to （Christian stewardship）。 Their faith in Christ led them to show love and do good works.
We now begin a study of the busiest day in the life of Jesus Christ. It was a day of working miracles, preaching, speaking in parables, and confronting the unbelievers. Above all it was a day when the Lord showed his love for lost souls.
It was late summer or early fall of A.D. 28 when Jesus and his disciples finally set out for home. Possibly about noon they arrived in Capernaum hungry and tired from a long walk. No sooner had they sat down to eat than a great crowd gathered to hear Jesus. As he did so often, Jesus forgot about his own needs and thought of other people first. He began to preach words of spiritual rest and to fill the listeners with the Gospel. But his friends did not understand this total concern for the ministry. They thought it showed that he was insane （Mark 3:21）。
That afternoon Jesus healed a man who could not hear or speak by throwing a demon out of him. When the crowd saw this, they began to compare Jesus to the promised Messiah. But the Pharisees, in order to protect their own power, accused Jesus of being controlled by Satan （Beelzebub）。 They said that he was doing his miracles through the devil’s power.
Jesus defended himself with common sense. “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub. Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out” （Luke 11:17-19）？
Christ went on to speak about a type of sin that could not be forgiven-a sin against the Holy Spirit. Although this sin is often not understood or used properly, it is really not so puzzling.
The work of the Holy Spirit is to lead man to repent of his sins and believe in Jesus Christ （2 Cor. 7:10; 1 Cor. 12:3）。 But sometimes a person who has come to faith later decides to speak or act against the Holy Spirit. He rejects all attempts made by the Spirit to influence him and recall him to faith. If this happens and he no longer listens to the Spirit, how can he repentance and come to faith again? （Also compare Luke 12:10; 1 John 5:16; Heb. 6:4-8）。
Jesus’ logical words and his stern warning did not bring the Pharisees to repent. Now they demanded that Jesus show them some miracle or sign to prove he was God’s Son. They forgot all about Jesus’ earlier miracles. So Jesus refused to give another sign at that time. Instead, he hinted that soon the greatest of all signs would take place. Just as in the Old Testament Jonah （1:17） was in the fish for three nights and days and then was thrown up on the shore alive, so Christ would die and three days later be seen alive.
Jesus’ miracle and teaching reached the heart of one woman in the crowd. Unable to keep quiet, she began to cry out. She asked God to bless the mother who had given birth to Jesus. While this was fulfilling Mary’s own prophecy （Luke 1:48） Jesus soon directed attention away from Mary to the blessings God wishes to give to all who believe - “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” （Luke 11:28）。
About this time Mary, along with Jesus’ half-brothers and half-sisters, appeared. They wished to save Jesus from overworking himself. In a reply which reminds us of an earlier story （Jesus at age 12 in the temple, Luke 2:49）， Jesus said that he was doing his Father’s business, building the household of God.
By now it was probably mid-afternoon. Jesus and the crowd left the home and went to the shore of the Sea of Galilee. There Jesus entered a boat and used it to preach to the crowd which sat on the beach. He spoke in parables. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. With simple stories from everyday life, Jesus now taught the people.
Someone might ask why Jesus chose to speak in parables rather than in a sermon. While Christ used parables throughout his ministry, he did so most often when popular opinion was against him. At such times he could openly speak in parables. Those who believed in him would understand, while those who didn’t would remain confused.
What did Jesus’ parables mean? The simplest way for us to determine the meaning of a parable is to follow three simple rules. First, see whether Christ himself gives the meaning. Second, look at the rest of the story to see if that explains the meaning. Usually some event or series of events inspired their use and gives a clue to their meaning. Third, know that each parable has only one central truth. The details which give color to the earthly story usually add little to the heavenly meaning.
Jesus spoke eight parables, all concerning the Kingdom of Heaven. The first five were addressed to the crowd on the beach. After that he moved to a house in Capernaum and spoke the last three. The parables are of:
The Tares Among the Wheat
The Seed Growing by Itself
The Mustard Seed
The Treasure in the Field
The Pearl of Great Price
The Net Cast into the Sea
Parables 1, 6 and 7 show how the kingdom of God is planted and grows in the heart of a person, while the others show how the kingdom develops in the world.
By now it was evening. To escape the crowd Jesus and the disciples found a boat to take them across the Sea of Galilee. Before they could leave, however, three men asked to become his disciples. Jesus warned them that such a commitment would mean great personal sacrifice. They would have to put God’s work first in their lives. The men left.
Jesus and the disciples then began to sail across the lake. Jesus soon fell into a deep sleep. As frequently happens on that sea, a sudden and violent storm arose. The boat began to sink. The disciples were full of terror and woke Jesus. They shouted, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” （Mark 4:38）。
Jesus got up and took care of the problem. He spoke two commands. “Silence, be quiet” （Mark 4:39）！ Immediately there was a complete calm. The disciples were totally amazed. Thus, Jesus’ busiest day came to a close.