The Ministry of Jesus

According to the book of mark, Jesus started his ministry at around AD 28/29 (Barnes 1999) by obtaining baptism from John the Baptist at river Jordan. When he reached at river Jordan, he was baptized where all heavens opened and the spirit of God descended in form of a dove and then a voice was heard proclaiming that ‘this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased with. So as to prepare him for his ministry, the spirit of the lord leads him to the wilderness where he stayed for forty days while the devil (Satan) tempted him. During this time, the angels took care of him. From the wilderness, Jesus went to Galilee for his first public ministry where he proclaimed that the kingdom of God is at hand and emphasized on a change of both the mind and heart in order to receive the good news (mark 1).

The book of mark concentrates exclusively on the ministry of Jesus.  One of the major things that stand out in this ministry is healing and His unique teachings about the kingdom of God (Wink 1991)." We are told that his teaching astonished people, because he taught with fully authority unlike those of the scribes and Pharisees (mark 1: 21-23). Jesus constantly moves from one city to another and crossed the Sea of Galilee several times teaching people proclaiming the kingdom of God. His teachings were extra ordinary, and He preferred using parables and when he had no parables to use he did not teach people (mark 4: 33-34). This shows that Jesus wanted to keep everything secret about his ministry. He only explained the meaning of the parables to his disciples (mark 4:34). Healing miracles, raising the death and healing casting of evil spirits also stands out in the ministry of Jesus. In fact, the book of mark records a total of 18 miracle For instance healing the man with unclean spirits (mark 1:23-27), healing a leper (mark 1:40-43), healing a paralytic man (mark 2:3-12), raising Jairus daughter from death (mark 5:35-43), healing a young girl with unclean spirits (mark 7:25-30) and healing a blind man in Bethsaida (mark 8:22-26). One of the things that also stand out in the ministry of Jesus is what scholars have referred to as ‘messianic secret’(James n.d) . The gospel of mark portrays more than any other gospel how Jesus wanted to keep his mission secret. This is clearly seen in the following verses: 1:25, 34; 1:43; 3:12; 5:43; 7:24; 7:36; 8: 26; 8:30 and 9:30. In all these verses Jesus tells people, especially his disciples (who knew more about him) not to tell anyone who He is. The ministry of Jesus was also characterized by frequent opposition from scribes and Pharisees who wanted religious status quo maintained. Some of these  instances include driving evil spirits without referring to the name of God (mark: 25-27), claiming to forgive sins which they thought only God could do (mark 2:5-10), dining with sinners and tax collectors which they considered sinful (mark 2: 16-17), the disciples of Jesus were not fasting as religious teaching required (mark 2: 18-20), accusation for not respecting the Sabbath day for instance healing and doing work during the Sabbath day ( mark 2:23-25; mark 3:1-6) and the disciples of Jesus eating with unwashed hand contrary to religious teachings ( mark 7:2-4). 

Throughout the gospel of mark Jesus gains the title as ‘the son of man’. These are the words he uses in many occasions to refer to himself. For instance when he was healing the paralytic son, Jesus tells him that he should know that the ‘son of man’ has the power on earth to forgive sins (mark 2:10). Another occasion when he uses these words was when he describes to the Pharisees that the Sabbath was meant for man and not man for the Sabbath. He describes himself as the son of man who is the lord of the Sabbath (mark 2: 28-29). Also when he describes His mission to his disciples, he tells them that the son of man (referring to himself) must suffer, be rejected, killed and then shall rise on the third day (mark 8: 31). These words are also used when he was delivering teachings to his disciples and the people who had gathered (mark 8:38), during his transfiguration on the mountain on the mountain together with peter, John and James (mark 9:9, mark 9:12), while describing to his disciples how he will be betrayed to the hand of men ( mark 9:31, mark 10:33).The words are used many times in the gospel of mark thus Jesus gains  the title as the ‘son of man’ sent by God to liberate sinners.

Jesus portrays many traits during his public ministry. For instance He comes out as humble and   submissive. Although he was the son of God, Jesus was ready to be baptized by John the Baptist who was less than him. The appearance of the dove is also a sign of humility and peacefulness that Jesus carried with him (mark1:9-11). By riding on a donkey as he entered the city of Jerusalem portrayed Jesus as a humble being (mark11:1-9). Jesus also comes out as the Holy messiah (Chosen one of God)  - during his baptism, the heavens opened and a dove descended on his head and a voice came from heaven proclaiming that he was the chosen one of God. This clearly indicated that he was the messiah who was to save mankind from the bondage of sin (mark1:9-12). Mark portrays Jesus as a loving. He never discriminated anyone and he even used to spend time and dine with those who were despised and considered sinners in the society for instance tax collectors (mark 2:15-17). In his ministry Jesus was secretive and He did not want the mission of his ministry to become open and thus he used parable in most of his teaching (mark: 1:25, 34; 1:43; 3:12; 5:43; 7:24; 7:36; 8: 26; 8:30 and 9:30). He also comes out as forgiving (mark 2:5) and courageous and enduring- He faces His suffering through crucification without holding back (mark 15).

After Adam and Eve fell into temptation, the plan of redemption started whereby Jesus was to come to earth so that he could die on the cross so that he could redeem mankind. After Adam sinned sin spread to the entire human race, whereby it was accompanied by death whereby every human being was accounted to death. The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of life was through Jesus Christ. His death on the cross was therefore meant to bring salvation to the fallen (in sin) beings. Jesus alone was the only one that could pay the ransom that could save man since he was sinless and also described as the Lamb of God. Jesus therefore died so that he could free all those whom in their lives were held in slavery for the fear of death. Thus only through Jesus Christ, our sins can be forgiven if we faithfully pray unto him since he is our high priest in heaven interceding for us (Scholes n.d).

The book of mark is entirely based on the ministry of Jesus only. From the events that took place during His ministry, Jesus comes out at the promised messiah sent by God to liberate mankind from bondage (sins). He performed many miracles and his teachings were unique with hidden meanings, this shows He wanted mankind to reflect on them when He was gone. It is through His suffering and crucification that eventually mankind got salvation. Crucification marks the end of the ministry of Jesus.

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